Forget Stocks: Invest in Soccer
Brazilian companies bank on young talent
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2008 8:59 AM CDT
Brazil's Sao Paulo's Breno, left, went to German team Bayern Munich for $19 million, with a big chunk of that money going to the company that owned his contract.   (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
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(Newser) – The hottest new commodity in Brazil is its soccer stars, and investors are taking note. Companies like Traffic are buying up the contracts of the next wave of potential Ronaldinhos and then lending their acquisitions out to poor but visible Brazilian teams. When European leagues come knocking with huge offers, the investors then cash in, explains the New York Times.

Despite 150% returns, there are obstacles. FIFA doesn't allow third-party involvement in player transfers, and fans don't like the idea that their beloved players will be shipped off the moment their talent begins to blossom. But businesses like Traffic have found loopholes in FIFA regulations, and argue that small-town teams would be trading breakout players anyway.