Crushed Manchester United Tipped to Keep Winning for Investors

(Bloomberg) -- Manchester United was blown away by Liverpool in one of British sport’s fiercest derby fixtures on Sunday, leaving Jose Mourinho’s team cut adrift from the Premier League’s top five in the race to play on the European stage next season. But investors in the world’s most valuable soccer team may not need to panic just yet.

In a note published on Monday, analysts at Jefferies recommended buying shares in Manchester United Plc, saying it’s best positioned to capitalize on the increasing value of viewing rights as well as a greater interest in live television advertising as the rise of streaming services like Netflix Inc. cuts demand for ad time during scripted programming.

United’s 3-1 defeat at the weekend means they have 26 points after 17 Premier League games, their worst tally at that stage since the 1990-91 season, according to sports statistic firm Opta. But Jefferies analysts including Randal J. Konik are looking beyond short-term performance, citing the team’s “unparalleled” fan-base.

Crushed Manchester United Tipped to Keep Winning for Investors

“While team performance can fluctuate season to season, MANU’s history of winning and success are unmatched, and that has led to the storied franchise having the highest global following of any other sporting team,” they said.

However, the bank, which led the company’s 2012 New York initial public offering and now makes a market in its shares, does admit that failure to qualify for the UEFA Champions League in any year risks a significant impact to short-term broadcast revenues.

United is currently sixth in Premier League table, eleven points from the fourth position that would earn them a route into European soccer’s most lucrative tournament next season. Mourinho said after Sunday’s loss that a top-four finish was still possible.

“Now, we must aim for fifth and probably later we can look to fourth,” he told Sky Sports. Even fifth-placed Arsenal are eight points away.

Crushed Manchester United Tipped to Keep Winning for Investors

The only other way for Manchester United to keep their place in Europe’s most lucrative competition would be to win this season’s Champions League. Although after being paired with French giant Paris St-Germain in Monday’s draw, that looks an even bigger stretch.

United are rated 40-1 outsiders to win the tournament, according to bookmaker William Hill, with local rivals Manchester City favorite at 11-4.

Manchester United shares are down about 12 percent this year versus a 3 percent decline for Stoxx’s index tracking European-listed soccer teams.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.