ISTANBUL - Referans

Despite an ongoing global credit crunch and domestic political uncertainties, Fenerbahçe, Turkey's most popular sports club, is drawing attention due to the tremendous performance of Fenerbahçe Sportif at the Istanbul Stock Exchange, or IMKB.
Fenerbahçe, which has increased its budget from $16 million to $184 million since 1998, raised its market value by 13.6 percent to $2.32 billion with Fenerbahçe Sportif.
Fenerbahçe Sportif shares appreciated a whopping 325 percent in the last 12 months and 160 percent since the beginning of the year. Shares were trading at YTL 86.5 at noon yesterday.

Outpacing others:
Fenerbahçe, which closed Tuesday at a historic level of YTL 100, has increased its market value over 10-fold since it went public in November 2004.
The club outpaced Manchester United, which ranked first with $1.8 billion on a list prepared by business magazine Forbes in May. According to the same list, Real Madrid's market value was $1.285 billion, while Arsenal had a value of $1.2 billion and Liverpool $1.05 billion. Market values of Bayern Munich, Milan and Barcelona were $917 million, $798 million and $784 million respectively.
The rise of Fenerbahçe Sportif, which features only a proportion of Fenerbahçe's revenues but no costs, stemmed from foreign interest as well as speculative movements. Currently, foreigners own 82.5 percent of the public shares of Fenerbahçe.
In an attempt to turn Fenerbahçe into a world club, Aziz Yıldırım, the club president, has taken important steps for institutionalization, bringing a �customer profile� to supporters. Fenerbahçe increases revenues constantly with its Fenerium stores and transfers new stars each year. The team's Şükrü Saraçoğlu Stadium, an important source of income with its season ticket sales, will host the UEFA Cup final in 2009.

Top clubs on the rise:
Apart from Fenerbahçe, the shares of Beşiktaş, Galatasaray and Trabzonspor are also on the rise. IMKB's sports index rose 109 percent since the beginning of the year, as the benchmark IMKB-100 depreciated by 37 percent. This year, Trabzonspor, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş shares rose by 141 percent, 51 percent and 34 percent respectively.
The price/earnings ratio, which stands at 7.5 on average at the IMKB, has reached 22 percent for the sports index, said analysts. Rumors of a possible reduction of the football club tax to 15 percent by the Finance Ministry are also said to have shaped the upward trend. Experts agree there is no concrete reason for the increase of value in sports clubs, and that public offering models are important in attracting investors. The public offering model of Fenerbahçe, Trabzonspor and Galatasaray do not feature expenditures of the clubs. It is attractive, particularly for foreigners, that these clubs make high profits and distribute dividends. However, foreign interest toward Beşiktaş, whose revenues and expenditures alike are open to the public, remains limited.