Michigan Ross School of Business and Arctos Launch Sports Franchise Index

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is collaborating with Arctos, a private investment firm in Dallas, to present the Ross-Arctos Sports Franchise Index, which will serve as a tool for assessing the aggregate value and performance of North American sports franchises.
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The new Ross-Arctos Sports Franchise Index shows the value of North American sports franchises have compounded at 13 percent per year for more than 60 years. // Stock photo

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is collaborating with Arctos, a private investment firm in Dallas, to present the Ross-Arctos Sports Franchise Index, which will serve as a tool for assessing the aggregate value and performance of North American sports franchises.

The index will focus on Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Football League, and National Hockey League franchises.

The Ross-Arctos Sports Franchise Index, conceived by Arctos and Danny Sillman, CEO of Relevant Sports Group and business partner of Stephen Ross, is backed by proprietary data sets comprising hundreds of individual control and non-control transactions in the Big Four leagues since 1960 to estimate a time series of average returns.

By combining Arctos’ deep industry insights and applied research with Michigan Ross’ academic excellence and integrity, the index is designed to provide key insights and analysis to potential investors, as well as the broader financial and sports business communities.

Additionally, the Ross-Arctos partnership is expected to encourage more academic research and thought leadership around all aspects of sports business operations for the benefit of students and faculty.

“We are thrilled to partner with the team at Arctos to build upon their unique and market-leading presence in the professional sports investment business,” says Sharon Matusik, Edward J Frey Dean of Business at U-M. “Our shared goal is to combine Arctos’ industry knowledge and experience with Michigan Ross’ deep analytical capabilities and academic rigor to establish such an index.”

Arctos, founded in 2019, was established to bring more than just capital to the teams, leagues, and businesses it partners with. By using data science-backed insights paired with operational and domain expertise, Arctos has emerged as a catalyst for innovation within professional sports and private markets.

“Unlike other private asset classes, the professional sports sector has lacked a shared, consistent, methodical measure to benchmark overall asset class performance, individual league performance, and individual investor performance,” says Ian Charles, co-founder and co-managing partner of Arctos.

“This index represents a significant milestone for institutional investment in the sports asset class and is the culmination of our team’s continued hard work and data-centric approach. We’re proud to partner with the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, whose academic excellence and leadership in finance and sports business made it the ideal partner for this initiative.”

Sillman adds, “Stephen Ross is one of the most creative and forward-thinking builders in global sports. It is exciting and appropriate that this innovation, which will significantly impact our industry, is housed at the Ross School of Business.”

This month, Michigan Ross launched a new website that includes sports franchise performance trends and research data. Additionally, the website will feature key insights from several Ross faculty members, including Chris Rider and Clay Miller, who have expertise in entrepreneurship and private equity, respectively.

“We believe the Ross-Arctos Sports Franchise Index will materially demystify the risks and clarify the unique opportunities involved in investing in professional sports franchises,” says Miller, Michigan Ross faculty director for the index. “We are confident that this index will fill this gap by allowing for a more nuanced analysis of risk and return in professional sports investing relative to existing methods.”

Notable findings from the Ross-Arctos Sports Franchise Index include:

  • The value of North American sports assets included in the index have compounded at 13 percent per annum for over the last 60+ years, outperforming the equity market by 2.5 percent.
  • According to several measures of risk, North American sports assets included in the index possess risk/return characteristics superior to other traditional and alternative asset classes.

In addition, as of its inaugural quarterly report on the index (as of Q1 2024), notable updates are:

  • North American sports assets included in the index have returned 4.8 percent quarter-to-date, 28.1 percent year-to-date and 16.7 percent three-years-to-date.
  • Year-over-year, North American sports assets have outperformed global equities (23.8 percent), U.S. small cap stocks (19.7 percent), private credit (8.8 percent), private equity (6 percent), commodities (1.5 percent) and fixed income (1.3 percent).
  • Year-over-year, the U.S. media and entertainment sector (53.6 percent) and U.S. equities (29.9 percent) outperformed North American sports assets included in the index.

For more information about the partnership, visit here.