Have you ever wanted to be Mark Cuban, Jerry Jones or George Steinbrenner?
To have the ability to control how your favorite team spends money, makes trades, and handles on-the-field play is every sports fanatic's dream. After all, that's why fantasy sports is so popular, right? Everybody is clamoring for a little piece of the action on some level.
Well, what if I told you that you could invest in your team? In this case, you truly win when they win (and lose when they lose). That is, you win (or lose) money.
AllSportsMarket (ASM) is trying to teach people about investing in the stock market -- and they're keeping people interested. Actor (think Scut Farkus from A Christmas Story) and ASM CEO Zack Ward gave me an in-depth tour of what the company is working on. Whether or not you're a true sports fan, you're not going to want to miss what he has to say.
No, this isn't gambling.
First off, I want to make it clear that ASM is not sports gambling. Ward stressed that to me and even called it a "cancer." According to him, "ASM serves a purpose. It preserves the integrity of sport. It is the West Coast Wall Street."
In fact, in his home state of California, Ward was actively involved in the Sports Integrity Protection Amendment, or SIPA. "This was a proposed constitutional amendment for the state of California to create a legal structure for new exchanges in order to offer a healthy alternative to sports gambling," Ward explained.
Although SIPA didn't become CA law, it gave Ward insight into the world of gambling that struck a nerve. "Gambling serves no purpose whatsoever," he said. "It ruins lives. I also saw firsthand how Daily Fantasy Sports was just trying to get Americans hooked on the next fix ..."
Learn about investing -- and watch your "Sportsfolio" grow.
For sports fans and investors alike, ASM serves as a place for education. As Ward states, "we feel the ability for people to learn about basic financial concepts such as buying, selling, shorting and dividends, on a ‘sports stock market’, is an extremely powerful one."
An extremely powerful one indeed. As a sports fan and father myself, I think the idea of using sports as a way to teach your children about the financial markets has the potential to me incredibly impactful. It meets kids on their level with something they're interested in already.
Ward gives us his perspective on this, saying:
We feel sports is the best entry point into finance for our youth and lifelong learning adults. If you talk market fluctuations with your kids, you will get no response as they will have zero interest. Now, if you ask them who their favorite team is, they will tell you with a smile on their face; now you have their attention and excitement. Buy them shares in their team, let them watch their Sportfolio™ grow and now you’ve got an investor. Now you’ve opened a door that can change their lives.
What's amazing to see is that it's already working. Ward talked about one user in particular, who said this: "It’s very helpful to work with my son to show him how markets operate."
"Teaching finance through sports," says Ward. "That's what we want to accomplish."
One game doesn't matter -- even the Super Bowl.
Based on Ward's explanations, ASM functions just like any other market. There are buyers and sellers along with key factors (think injuries, trades or coaching changes) that affect the market. It's similar to how politics, economics, laws, or even weather can affect the financial markets.
"The beauty of a market is the fact that where some see a reason to sell, others see a reason to buy," explains Ward. Even though they lost the Super Bowl, the "Patriots stock price has largely recovered, though it’s still down from its late January/early February highs."
Somewhat surprising, however, is that one game doesn't factor into a team's share price that much -- even playoff games. "One game doesn't matter much even if it's the Super Bowl," says Ward. "Buying Eagles on February 1 and selling a week later on February 8 would have netted the trader only a 1.1% return (excluding dividends).
What's appealing about investing in your favorite team is that you feel more a part of the action than your favorite fast food chain or drink. Sure, you can partake in those, but it's quite different than watching your team with a big game or hit a home run. ASM gives fans the opportunity to showcase their passion -- and reap financial rewards as well.
As Ward says:
Fan engagement is always high, and not just during games. Trading goes on before, during and after a game as investors continue to process new pieces of information and make educated decisions with their investment dollars. “Has age finally caught up with Brady? Is Gronk retiring? How important is Wentz to the Eagles?” The world of sports produces new information on a continuous basis, and the traders on our market adjust their holdings accordingly, 24/7/365 as the trading never stops.