By Miguel Ángel Moreno
Madrid, Oct 29 (EFE).- For the first time, a Spanish soccer club has been listed on the stock exchange, with Intercity San Juan, a fourth-tier side playing in the Segunda División RFEF – Group 5, debuting Friday at a price of 1.20 euro per share.
Founded in 2017, the club has been promoted three times in four seasons and has its sights set on the top flight and is a pioneer by entering the market, an unprecedented development in Spanish football.
“We feel like footballers who are going to play in a promotion playoff”, president Salvador Martí said just before the bell rang at the Madrid Stock Exchange, where he described the operation as “a step up in transparency” and “a new path for shareholders and soccer fans”.
“The club was created with the objective of growing without debt. We believe that capital is much cheaper than debt and generates less risk,” said Intercity’s president.
Intercity is the first club in Spain to depart from the established model of private ownership, which is fraught with risk if results on the pitch don’t pan out.
“Normally what you have is one person investing in the club. If the results don’t come, (the owners) normally try to avoid the system or invest more money, (and) in the end, the club suffers,” Intercity co-founder Javier Mira told EFE.
Their next challenge is achieving promotion to the RFEF First Division this season, the last step before making it to professional soccer, and they have not ruled out investing in infrastructure.
“Depending on the financing we get on the stock market, we want to build a stadium and a sports complex,” said Martí.
Intercity is opening up an unexplored avenue in Spain, but one that is common in other major European leagues. Clubs such as Manchester United in England, Borussia Dortmund in Germany, Juventus in Italy, Olympique Lyon in France, Benfica in Portugal and Ajax in the Netherlands are all in demand.
“Spain was an anomaly, of the countries in the five major leagues it is the only one that does not have a listed club. Now we have one, even if it’s not in professional soccer. And Spain is an interesting country, because of the excellent financial control that LaLiga has imposed,” Luis García, investment manager of Mapfre AM, told EFE.
Intercity’s initial public offering has raised the question of whether other Spanish clubs will follow suit. “I’m sure it will take less and less time. The members and shareholders want more and more transparency and this is a way for all soccer clubs to be financed,” said Martí.
However, experts consulted by EFE believe the issue is more complicated. “Soccer has complex shareholder structures and is a business in which it is difficult to be profitable,” said XTB analyst Joaquín Robles, who sees little likelihood of a knock-on effect. EFE