Like hundreds of thousands of other Canadians, last night I tuned in to watch a meaningless October matchup between the Edmonton Oilers and Washington Capitals. The Oilers took the game by a score of 3-2, despite being outshot by a margin of 34-20. Goaltender Ben Scrivens got the win, much to my delight, since I have him in my hockey pool.
NHL hockey is practically a religion here in Canada. Millions of Canadians regularly tune in on Saturday night to watch CBC’s weekly doubleheader. Each of our 7 NHL teams regularly sell out their home games, even boosting attendance when playing on the road, especially in markets in the southern United States. I even know people who take each annual trade deadline day off work, so they can watch the wall-t0-wall coverage of which team is going to trade for that final piece of the puzzle, in a quest for the Stanley Cup.
Plus, they say investors should invest in what they know, and there’s certainly a lot of NHL knowledge out there. Let’s take a look at a few ways the average person can invest in their favorite sport.
The obvious choice for investors looking to invest in NHL hockey is to buy shares of Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX: RCI.B)(NYSE: RCI), which is perhaps the most highly levered company to the NHL’s success.
Rogers signed a new contract with the NHL in November, 2013, giving it exclusive national rights to show NHL games in Canada. Rogers allowed CBC to retain its rights to Saturday night’s Hockey Night in Canada, but Rogers gets all the revenue from ads in exchange for providing the production and allowing CBC to promote its other programs. Rogers paid $5.3 billion for this deal, which covers the next 12 seasons.
So far, Rogers has done a nice job with its coverage, at least in this fan’s opinion. Rogers has held regional rights for several Canadian teams for years, so the company knows what it’s doing.
Additionally, another way for investors to invest in NHL hockey is to buy shares in BCE Inc. (TSX: BCE)(NYSE: BCE), Canada’s largest telecommunications company. Not only does BCE own TSN (which is Canada’s leading sports broadcaster), but it also owns 37.5% of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, and Toronto FC soccer team. Rogers also owns 37.5% of MLSE.
While TSN doesn’t have the national broadcast rights for NHL games anymore, it still has the regional rights for three of Canada’s teams. Additionally, TSN’s hockey coverage is consistently considered the best in the business, so it’s still pretty dependent on the success of hockey in general.
There are other ways to invest in the NHL other than buying two of Canada’s largest telcos.
One alternative way to do it is by buying Boston Pizza Royalties Income Fund (TSX: BPF.UN), which is one of Canada’s leading restaurant and sports bar chains. Hockey fans across the country will often treat themselves by going out and enjoying some food and a couple of adult beverages while watching a game. This effect could be magnified if a Canadian team advances deep into the playoffs.
The Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX: BNS)(NYSE: BNS) is another way to invest in the success of the NHL, mostly due to its credit card partnership with the NHL. Customers can get a Visa card customized with their favorite team’s logo on it, all while earning rewards that work out to approximately 1% cash back. The more popular hockey gets, the more popular the card will become.
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Fool contributor Nelson Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned.