3 ETFs For The NBA Finals (FAA, FRAK, PEJ)
The NBA Finals are in full swing with the Miami Heat holding a 2-1 lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the best-of-seven series. Game four is slated is for Tuesday night and game 5 will be played on Thursday. The burden now falls on the Thunder to win at least one of the next two games to force the series back to their home court.
While the Heat-Thunder match up may not be considered a "classic" clash, this series does have some compelling story lines. Both Kevin Durant and LeBron James are looking for their first taste of championship glory.
Sports fans may be intrigued by the event, but there are also some ETFs with deep ties to the Finals. Investors may want to have a look these before taking their talents to South Beach:
PowerShares Dynamic Leisure and Entertainment Portfolio (NYSE: PEJ) The PowerShares Dynamic Leisure and Entertainment Portfolio's top holding is Dow component Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS). Disney, which accounts for 5.3 percent of the ETF's weight, owns the ABC and ESPN networks, giving Mickey Mouse intimate ties to the NBA. However, PEJ holds another stock that looms large over these NBA Finals.
Seattle residents and NBA fans that know their history are aware that once upon a time, the Oklahoma City Thunder were the Seattle Sonics. In fact, Seattle won an NBA championship in 1979. Some Seattle fans are supporting the Thunder.. Some not so much.
How the controversial 2008 move of Seattle's team to Oklahoma City pertains to PEJ is this: The ETF's sixth-largest holding with a weight of 4.8 percent is Starbuck's (Nasdaq: SBUX). It was Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz, who owned the Sonics from 2001 to 2006, that sold the team to Clay Bennett and his Oklahoma City partners.
While Seattle fans seem more content to vilify Bennett than Schultz, it can be argued that common sense would have dictated that if one wanted to see the Sonics remain in Seattle, one would not have sold the team to a group of investors from a city over 2,000 miles away. Speaking of CEOs that should not go ignored with regard to these NBA Finals...
Market Vectors Unconventional Oil & Gas ETF (NYSE: FRAK) Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK), the second-largest U.S. natural gas producer, is FRAK's tenth-largest holding with an allocation of almost 3.7%, but FRAK does not appear on this list just because the Thunder play at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
FRAK makes the list because Chesapeake's controversial CEO Aubrey McClendon, a minority owner in the Thunder, was instrumental in moving the team to Oklahoma City. Bennett told Schultz he wanted the Sonics to stay in the Seattle area, but behind the scenes, things were much different.
McClendon would later publicly say the investors "didn't buy the team to keep it in Seattle; we hoped to come here. We know it's a little more difficult financially here in Oklahoma City, but we think it's great for the community and if we could break even we'd be thrilled."
Chesapeake is paying $3 million annually plus a yearly escalation of 3 percent for the naming rights on the arena. That deal runs for the next 11 years.
That may not be a lot of money to a company with a market cap of almost $11.5 billion, but in the case of cash-strapped Chesapeake, it would be prudent and in the best interest of shareholders to save money anyway possible. That would include ending payment for stadium naming rights.
Guggenheim Airline ETF (NYSE: FAA) And speaking of arena naming rights held by companies with a history of financial struggles, airlines love slapping their names on NBA arenas. Five NBA stadiums are sponsored by airlines, including two by American Airlines. One of those two is the Heat's home floor. Having a company name on a sporting facility does not mean much though. Just ask Enron. Or ask American, which cannot even be included in the Guggenheim Airline ETF because the carrier is in bankruptcy.
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