Sports shares prove a winner

The world's first investment fund to focus entirely on sports shares yesterday announced growth of more than 66 per cent in its first eight months.

The fund, which is managed in-house by Momentum, an investment house, includes in its portfolio leading international sports brands such as Adidas and Nike and top English Premier League football teams such as Manchester United and Chelsea.

It was set up to exploit the potential cash bonanza from the introduction of pay-per-view television and the growing demand for shares with limited availability such as British football clubs. It also seeks to benefit from the growing trend of sports clubs to be professionally managed.

News of the fund's success came on the day former Liverpool captain Alan Hansen announced a new football investment fund designed to capitalise on the game's growing popularity with investors.

Michael Goldman, managing director of Momentum, welcomed Mr Hansen's involvement with an as-yet-unnamed fund manager.

"We welcome all competition which will inevitably boost prices as buying pressure increases in a comparatively thin market," he said.

The rush of football clubs to go public has prompted the Stock Exchange to consider listing them under a separate category, a move which could give share prices another boost by attracting index-tracking funds.

And Japanese investment bank Nomura recently issued warrants on a new football index to track the share prices of quoted Premiership clubs. The warrants give investors geared exposure to what it called "this emerging sub-sector of the leisure industry".

The Momentum fund covers equipment manufacturers and suppliers, apparel manufacturers and sports clubs.

"The rarity of a number of sports shares continues to confirm Momentum's diversified approach," Mr Goldman said.