Investing Lessons From the World Cup: Winners and Losers Don’t Stay That Way

Once every four years, most of the planet turns its attention to the soccer pitch for an unrivaled sporting pageant: the World Cup. And while Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner is not a superfan when it comes to futbol, he’s a lover of sport in general, so it should come as little surprise that he, like billions of people around the globe, has his mind on the competition. But at the Fool, our aim is to help you beat the market, so whatever he’s doing, he’s liable at some point to try to imagine it through an investor’s lens.

In this segment, David reminds us that we need to be ready to adjust our views of businesses as well as sports teams. It’s not too hard to name a number of companies that once were powerhouses, leaders in their sectors, that today are afterthoughts. And it’s equally easy to name some that once were secondary niche players, but now occupy the top tier.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on June 20, 2018.

David Gardner: The last and final point is a point about winners and losers flip-flopping from one World Cup to the next. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the 2018 World Cup, but I predict some countries that have had poor pasts in the World Cup will surprise us. Other countries that were heavily favored will disappoint us. And our perception of who’s a winner and who’s a loser will shift.

I was having this conversation earlier today with my good friend Chris Hill of Motley Fool podcast Fame. Chris was saying, “Think about Under Armour five or ten years ago. They were a dominant, branded force. And they vs. Adidas five or ten years ago, Under Armour was the clear, out-and-out winner. Look how things have changed here in 2018.” If you’ve seen some of the Adidas ads, and how expensive those must have been, you can see that Adidas can afford to pay for big-time ads with big-time personalities. Under Armour, in the meantime, is a company down on its luck. The stock hasn’t done very well.

But, take heart, my friends, because just as things flipped one way — if you’re an Under Armour shareholder, and I still am, be patient, because often, they’ll flip another way. I’ve recently been thinking about Lululemon, which was down on its luck some years ago and is now at all-time highs. People don’t talk about Lululemon as much today, maybe, as they did when it was an emerging public company, with the yoga pant craze and all the success Lululemon was having. It hit a hard time, and now it’s back on top of its world.

The winners and losers keep shifting. You should definitely notice that in the World Cup and appreciate it, and realize that, if your team didn’t win at all this year, or your stock didn’t have a great year, maybe you should stick with it. If you still see elements of excellence in place, I bet the wind will move behind you and get at your back at some point in the future.

David Gardner owns shares of UAA and UA. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends UAA and UA. The Motley Fool recommends LULU. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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