Richard J Hunter, Head of Markets, interactive investor
Football remains big business and the World Cup is still the most-watched sporting event on the planet.
In 2014, an estimated 3.2 billion people watched the tournament, including 1 billion tuning in to the final itself.
It is debateable as to whether the hosting country’s economy benefits, given the building, infrastructure and security requirements, but the governing body FIFA looks likely to receive some $5 billion nonetheless.
In terms of the UK, however, there could be a number of companies who will be watching the finals with commercial as well as national interest in mind.
And with England’s fixtures being at different times, people may choose to watch the games at home with two of the three group matches falling on a weekday. (Monday 18th June 19.00, Sunday 24th June 13.00, Thursday 28th June 19.00).
Expect the usual bunfight and round of amusing adverts from the larger players, all seeking to gain a share of any flutters you may fancy either in the comfort of your own home, or if you are out and about. With an explosion of mobile phone betting now established, it is easier than ever to bet, which could play into the hands of the likes of Paddy Power Betfair (PPB), GVC Holdings, which incorporates Ladbrokes and Coral (GVC) and William Hill (WMH).
The main retailers are already promoting these on their websites, including a vast selection of the kits of participating countries other than England. It will be interesting to see whether Sports Direct (SPD) or JD Sports (JD.) will win the battle.
There will still be many fans who choose to watch games in a louder atmosphere, so it may be a fillip for the fortunes of the likes of Mitchells and Butlers, which include the chains of Nicholson’s, O’Neill’s and All Bar One (MAB), Greene King (GNK) or Marston’s (MARS). If history is anything to go by, it may be possible to find solace away from the World Cup entirely in a JD Wetherspoon (JDW) environment where music and sport (with volume) is usually notable by its absence.
The majority of the games will be shown on terrestrial TV, which should benefit the likes of ITV, especially now that it is possible to bet at improved odds “in play” as the game progresses and during the ad breaks in particular. Generally the added froth of advertising during large sporting events is seen as positive for the likes of WPP, not-withstanding its recent issues.
Perhaps the brewers are already ramping up in advance, in which case the likes of Diageo (DGE), with its stable of household names such as Guinness, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan and Johnnie Walker could benefit. Further afield (available to trade on various foreign exchanges) AB InBev (Stella Artois, Budweiser, Beck’s and Foster’s) is a potential winner also.
For those determined to watch the tournament from home, perhaps a new television could be the order of the day from the likes of Dixons Carphone (DC.) via its Currys brand or Sainsbury (SBRY) via Argos. In any event, at the very least a pizza takeaway could be on the cards from Domino’s Pizza (DOM).
Benefits to these stocks would come into sharper focus the further England progress – which in itself is uncertain given the last 52 years – but equally a successful (and overdue) run in the competition could have a wider positive impact on sentiment in general, at least temporarily.
This article is for information and discussion purposes only and does not form a recommendation to invest or otherwise. The value of an investment may fall. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.