The World Cup has been a huge success this year. Outside of U.S. viewership dropping thanks to the lack of an American team, the 2018 World Cup has had everything else.
There have been dominant performances. Close games. Tons of penalty kicks. A great Cinderella story. A bunch of upsets. Lots of international viewers. Tons of social media engagement. A healthy dose of drama.
The 2018 World Cup has had it all. And now, there are only four teams left. Who wins? Too early to tell.
But it isn’t too early to tell which companies have won as a result of the 2018 World Cup. Here’s a list of five World Cup-inspired stocks that are winning right now, and should continue winning into the foreseeable future.
World Cup Stocks Getting a Boost: Nike Inc (NKE)
Soccer is largely an international sport. While Nike (NYSE:NKE) is a global company, it historically has dominated American-based sports, such as basketball, baseball and football. However, gaining market share in internationally favored sports like soccer is a sore spot for NKE.
Indeed, heading into this year’s World Cup, it looked as if Nike would again struggle. International peer and global soccer leader Adidas (OTCMKTS:ADDYY) headed into the World Cup, outfitting 12 of the 32 teams in attendance. Nike’s team count stood at just 10.
Fast forward a few weeks, and the script has flipped. There are only four teams left. Of those four, three are Nike teams. Of the three Nike teams, two of them (France and England) are the clear favorites. And of those two clear favorites, England has been selling a ton of merchandise.
In other words, while the true World Cup winner is yet to be determined, it looks like Nike has already won. Even if the lone Adidas team (Belgium) manages to pull off the upset, Nike will still win because of the mindshare it has gained in a sport that it has historically had trouble breaking into.
This isn’t small news. Soccer is a huge global market. Nike has yet to dominate that market. In many ways, soccer is Nike’s final frontier in athletic apparel. Therefore, a World Cup win for Nike is a big step in the right direction.
World Cup Stocks Getting a Boost: McDonald’s Corporation (MCD)
Fast-casual food giant McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) and the World Cup go hand in hand.
McDonald’s has served as a sponsor of the World Cup since 1994. Indeed, in every World Cup since, it hasn’t been hard to find the Golden Arches; either in a commercial, in between action, on an advertisement on the sidelines or being uttered by the announcers. When it comes to the World Cup, McDonald’s is everywhere. Consequently, the World Cup has always been a favorable outing for MCD.
When it comes to this World Cup, though, McDonald’s being everywhere could prove to be extra beneficial.
Since the last World Cup, McDonald’s has done a lot of house-cleaning. They have remodeled stores to be more modern and sleek. They have revamped their menu to include healthier options, rolled out All-Day Breakfast, and beefed up the quality of existing offerings through initiatives like fresh patties. In many ways, there is a new McDonald’s in town.
The World Cup gives McDonald’s the perfect venue to showcase its new self to the world. Consumers will naturally be enticed by the newer, healthier offerings, and that should inevitably lead to a global sales boost in the near term. Considering just how much better McDonald’s has gotten over the past few years, I do expect that broader global awareness of the new MCD should lead to an enduring boost in popularity, attendance and sales.
World Cup Stocks Getting a Boost: The Coca-Cola Co (KO)
Much like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) has become synonymous with the World Cup. Coca-Cola started advertising at the World Cup back in 1950, formed a formal association with the World Cup in 1974 and became an official sponsor in 1978. The company is set to remain a sponsor until at least 2030.
Thus, any World Cup is a positive for Coca-Cola. It is an opportunity to showcase to a global audience what is new at the world’s largest beverage company.
Also much like McDonald’s, though, this World Cup could prove to be extra beneficial. Coca-Cola, like McDonald’s, has spent a lot of time, money, and effort over the past several years adapting its product portfolio to rapidly changing consumer preferences. Namely, healthy juices and flavored waters are in, while dark sodas and sugary drinks are out.
That transition has naturally hurt Coca-Cola. But the company has adapted both through new product development and acquisitions. The beverage portfolio now feels a lot more relevant to today’s consumer preferences than it was four years ago.
The World Cup gives Coca Cola an opportunity to showcase that new, healthier, more relevant portfolio. The company is doing that, and as a result, sales across Coca-Cola’s portfolio of healthier drinks should get a boost over the next several months.
World Cup Stocks Getting a Boost: Marston’s PLC (MAR)
The big success story at the World Cup has been England.
England, one of the world’s largest soccer markets, hasn’t won a World Cup since 1966. That is more than 50 years ago. Now, not only is the country two games away from winning it all, but they are also the heavy favorites to do so.
Naturally, all of England is full of excitement. “It’s coming home” has been a phrase that everyone is tossing around. Millions of people are watching the games. And social media has seemingly fallen in love with this Cinderella story.
Who wins when all of England is excited and watching soccer games? Pubs. If you aren’t watching the game at home, you are probably watching it a pub.
That is why Marston’s PLC (OTCMKTS:MARZF) stock has been on fire over the past several days. The company operates over 1,500 pubs in the United Kingdom, and presumably, each one of those pubs has been packed every time England has played.
Those pubs will also be packed for the England semi-final game. And, if they make it, the England final game, too. All those packed days add up, and at the end of the tournament, Marston’s will be a big winner.
World Cup Stocks Getting a Boost: Anheuser Busch (BUD)
Building off the last World Cup stock, when people watch soccer and go to pubs, they usually do so to drink beer. More than that, even if you aren’t in England or going to a pub, drinking beer is common while watching the World Cup.
That is why one of the biggest beneficiaries of the World Cup is Anheuser Busch (NYSE:BUD), the beer company behind sporting event favorite beers like Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra. Undoubtedly, all three of those beers have seen purchase rates soar during the World Cup.
Further, BUD has launched a huge “Dilly Dilly” campaign with Bud Light, which has likely done quite well at the World Cup. The campaign is all about shouting “Dilly Dilly” and drinking. It’s silly. But it is also the sort of thing that makes people feel connected and have a sense of camaraderie, two things that line up very well with the World Cup.
Altogether, it is very likely that BUD sold a ton of beers over the course of the World Cup. It is also likely that the company built its global brand image as a feel-good beer through its “Dilly Dilly” campaign. The combination of those two benefits should provide both short- and long-term tailwinds for BUD stock.
As of this writing, Luke Lango was long MCD.