By Joe Easton
German club rallies on reports of player bid by FC Barcelona
TV rights deals fueling transfer ‘hyperinflation’ in soccer
Not even a weekend defeat at the hands of arch-rival FC Bayern Munich could halt Borussia Dortmund GmbH’s stock-market rally on Monday as speculation persisted that the German soccer club could receive almost half of the 222 million euros ($262 million) FC Barcelona stands to get for Brazilian soccer star Neymar Da Silva Santos Jr.
The shares climbed as much as 2.5 percent in Frankfurt, extending the increase to as much as 6.9 percent since Paris Saint-Germain said on Aug. 3 the 25-year-old had signed a five-year contract with the French club. L’Equipe reported at the weekend that Barcelona may pay in excess of 100 million euros to replace Neymar with Dortmund attacker Ousmane Dembele.
Rumors of a Dembele deal are supporting the stock, and should lead to “very positive” first-quarter numbers, Christoph Schlienkamp, an analyst at Bankhaus Lampe KG, said in an email.
A valuation of that scale would represent a large profit in a short period of time for Dortmund, which lost a penalty shootout in Saturday’s cliffhanger against FC Bayern in the German Supercup. The northern German club paid just 15 million euros for the Frenchman last year, according to a report by ESPN after that deal was announced.
Dembele was named in the Bundesliga team of year for 2016/17, scoring six goals and providing 12 assists during his first season in Germany.
PSG’s purchase fuels a European transfer market already experiencing “hyperinflation,” said Robert Wilson, principal lecturer in sport business management at Sheffield Hallam University.
Transfer prices over the past 12 months have been largely powered by major television rights deals paid to English Premier League clubs, with European rivals now seeking a bigger share of the pie, Wilson said in a phone interview when the Neymar deal was announced. Sky Plc agreed to pay 1.39 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) a year from the 2016/17 season for U.K. rights to broadcast live English Premier League soccer in a deal announced in February 2015.
Clubs should be cautious in accepting such large sums for their star talent, said Marcus Silbe, an analyst at Oddo BHF. While Dortmund shares may be gaining on rumors of a Dembele deal, it would make more sense for the German club to keep the player, he said in emailed comments.
“It would be a great deal on paper, but even with 100 million euros there is no guarantee that they’ll find a new player who fits into the team the same way as Dembele did,” Silbe added.
The funds received “will be administered with prudence, rigor and serenity,” Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu told a supporters congress on Monday.
— With assistance by Gaurav Panchal