‘PSG star power propels French Ligue 1 TV ratings, media value’

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Didier Quillot, chief executive of Ligue de Football Professionnel, the organising body of top divisions of French soccer has said that the star studded line-up of Paris Saint- Germain (PSG) is the main reason behind increase in media rights value and television viewership.

Quillot has said that the Ligue 1 TV viewership has seen a 25 per cent hike last year because of PSG’s increasing appeal among fans across the global with football icons including Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani, Julian draxler, and Thiago Silva etc.

The club continues to maintain its dominance in French football, thanks to the financial muscles of  Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) which acquire the club in 2011, Since then, PSG under club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi took on an ambitious project to spearheard the club to the summits of the European game.

PSG’s revival era begin in 2012 lead by arrival of star striker Zlatan Ibrahimović, followed by a number of big money signings including Thiago Silva, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Edinson Cavani and David Luiz which helped the team with several domestic title winning streaks.

Also Read: QSI injects $370 million fresh capital into Paris Saint-Germain

Further building upon this success, the club signed Neymar in a world record transfer deal as well as the 18-year-old French prodigy Kylian Mbappé in a second most expensive transfer in 2017. Together with Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani, they formed a fearsome attacking trio and claimed PSG’s third domestic quadruple in four seasons.

PSG, ever since QSI has taken over, has till date won five Ligue 1 titles, four Coupe de France titles, five Coupe de la Ligue titles and six Trophée des Champions.

Quillot has revealed that the LFP is hoping to close its remaining rights deals by December, indicating PSG’s star power is crucial to Ligue 1 as it looks to build brand profile overseas.

Domestically the rights for 2020 to 2024 have already netted a total of $1.33 billion per season, with Spanish sports rights agency Mediapro picking up the three main packages, while pay-TV’s BeIN Sports and Free, the telecoms group, each secured one package.

Those deals represented a 59.7 per cent jump on the previous five-year agreement, which totalled $841 million per year, and brought Ligue 1’s domestic rights close to the value of Spain’s La Liga and Germany’s Bundesliga.

Sportcal has quoted Quillot as saying: “We have to improve the value of our rights internationally and one way to do that is to have more stars. In China, for example, fans love star clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid, and they love star names like (Lionel) Messi, (Cristiano) Ronaldo, Neymar and Mbappé. Big stars mean big profits. In my opinion, Neymar and Mbappé are the two best players in the world right now, and they play in France.”

“Of course you want a competitive league, and at the moment PSG dominate, but just two years ago Monaco were champions. It is the same in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich, in Serie A with Juventus and even in La Liga with Barcelona or Real Madrid. It is only England that is unique, where you cannot pick the winner at the start of the season. So it is not just a French paradox.”

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“Even if PSG are dominating right now, there are no negative consequences. Attendance is up, TV audiences are up 25 per cent on last year and new investors are coming in. People want to see stars.”

“Yes I prefer less domination, but it does not affect my economic indicators.”

LFP is reportedly in talks with broadcasters over the sale of the remaining two packages of domestic rights to the top-tier Ligue 1 for the next cycle, and has apparently decided against launching another invitation to tender.

According to Sportcal, the first of the two remaining packages contained rights to the season-opening Trophée des Champions, the relegation play-offs and multiplex rights on match weeks 19, 37 and 38. At the LFP’s initial rights auction in May, the package carried a stipulated reserve price of $17.4 million per season.

The other rights, which Quillot has previously indicated the LFP would look to sell to a free-to-air broadcaster, had a reserve of $9.2 million per season and comprises rights to magazine programmes on Mondays and Thursdays.

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