Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao FC: Valuing Growth Potential
In 2016, Chinese football club Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao Football Club (Evergrande), which had recently been crowned the most valuable football club in China by Forbes magazine, with a valuation of US$282 million, simultaneously had a market capitalization in China of over US$3.3 billion. The team had yet to earn a profit, so these valuations raised questions regarding how this team in particular was valued and how sports franchises were valued in general. Many sports teams tended to lose money as they built their talent base, and investors often valued such assets in a way that was similar to the valuation of technology stocks. A football fan who was interested in investing in the Evergrande club was concerned about the high price for its shares. He wondered whether the club was really worth this much money and whether its stock price could continue to rise in future. To answer these questions, he needed to understand how the team was valued.