Building a Football Field Chart in Excel

Football Field Demo

Investment bankers often need to present a range of valuations for a company based on different methodologies like comparable companies analysis, precedent transactions analysis, DCF analysis, and LBO analysis.

One effective way to visually present these valuation ranges is through a football field chart (also known as a floating bar or column chart). This chart allows you to easily compare multiple valuation ranges in a clean graphical format.

In this post, I’ll walk you through step-by-step how to build a football field chart in Excel to showcase valuation ranges in investment banking.

Key Sections


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What is a Football Field Chart?

A football field chart is a type of bar or column chart that shows different valuation ranges for a company. Each valuation methodology forms its own “field” going vertically, like the yards on a football field.

The chart typically displays:

  • The low and high ends of each valuation range
  • The midpoints of each range
  • The average of the different valuations

This allows readers to quickly visualize the full spectrum of valuations and identify outliers.

Why Use a Football Field Chart?

There are several benefits to using a football field chart for investment banking valuation analysis.

  • Visually compares valuation ranges Rather than a table of numbers, the football field chart allows readers to quickly compare the valuation ranges visually in a graphical format.
  • Identifies outliers It’s easy to see when one valuation range stands out from the others as an outlier. This allows you to dig deeper into the assumptions behind that methodology.
  • Shows summary statistics The chart visually highlights the average and midpoints of the ranges, providing useful summary statistics at a glance.
  • Clean format The football field chart presents the data in a clean, uncluttered way without excessive numbers or text.
  • Flexibility You can include as many or as few valuation methodologies as you want. The chart works for 2-3 ranges or 10+ ranges.

For these reasons, the football field chart has become a popular way for investment bankers to communicate valuations visually in presentations and models.

How to Build Your Football Field Chart in Excel

1. Organize Your Data

Start by setting up your data. Create three columns:

  • Valuation Method
  • Minimum (or Low) Value
  • Maximum (or High) Value

For instance, your data could look something like:

Organize Your Data

2. Prepare Your Data for Charting

To make the data ready for a stacked column chart, create another column titled ‘Difference’ which calculates the difference between Maximum and Minimum values. The formula is =C2-B2 for the first row.

Your data should now look like this:

Prepare Your Data for Charting

3. Create a Stacked Column Chart

  • Highlight your data (excluding the ‘Valuation Method’ column).
  • Navigate to Insert > Column or Bar Chart > Stacked Column.

This will create a basic stacked column chart.

4. Format the Chart

  • Click on the chart. In the chart design options, select the data series which represents the ‘Minimum’ value.
  • Right-click and choose ‘Format Data Series.’
  • Under the ‘Fill’ option, choose ‘No Fill.’ This will make the ‘Minimum’ value invisible, leaving just the ‘Difference’ visible, thus creating the look of a football field chart.

5. Finalize the Look and Feel

  • Delete any legends, gridlines, or unnecessary labels.
  • Add data labels to show the exact range of each valuation method. You can add both minimum and maximum labels to give a clearer picture.
  • Adjust column width, colors, and fonts to match your desired aesthetics.

6. Adjust Axes

  • Make sure the vertical axis (Valuation Methods) lists the methods in the order you desire.
  • Adjust the horizontal axis to ensure it covers the full range of values you’re representing.

Creating a football field chart in Excel without external tools like Macabacus might take a bit more manual work, but the result is a clean, professional chart that clearly visualizes valuation ranges. With practice, this process becomes swift and intuitive, making it a key skill for anyone in finance to hone.

To create a football field chart the easy way, and with more formatting options, try using Macabacus.

Building a Football Field Chart in Macabacus

Macabacus contains a built-in template to easily create football field charts for valuation ranges. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Input your valuation data Set up your data with columns for valuation methodology, minimum value, and maximum value.
  2. Select your data Highlight your input data to feed the football field chart.
  3. Insert Football Field chart Go to CHARTS > Quick Charts > Football Field.
  4. Configure settings Select your data in the dialog box. Adjust size, colors, data labels.
  5. Refine formatting Tweak fonts, number formats, column widths to polish the look and feel.

Check out these video tutorials showing the process.

Plotting the Chart

Excel does offer some native solutions, but they can be tedious. Using plugins like Macabacus can simplify the process:

  • Start by selecting your data range.
  • Navigate to the charts section and look for the football field chart option.
  • Once you’ve made your selection, a dialog box will appear. Set your preferred dimensions and orientation.
  • If you’d like to add a statistical line, such as an average or median line, you can choose to do so.
  • Once done, a new tab with the chart appears.

Refining and Customizing the Chart

The initial output may not be entirely aligned with your branding or desired aesthetic. You can:

  • Adjust data labels for clarity.
  • Modify the Y-axis and gridlines for a cleaner look.
  • Adjust font, size, and colors as per your brand.

  • For a more precise presentation, you can add lines indicating the average, median, or a targeted share price.

Try Macabacus for free and see for yourself how easy it is to create football field charts in Excel and create links to PowerPoint.

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