Do you know the master plan behind Messi’s transfer to PSG? Let’s deep dive into what was the plan behind singing one of the best players in the sport.
When Messi was announced to Join PSG, the footballing/soccer world went mad.
Paris now has the most valuable squad in the world 20 million new followers on social media and thousands of shirt sales within hours.
The pictures of people waiting in lines in front of the PSG stores rival the heyday of the iPhone or the most hyped sneaker launches.
What if this is just a thought? This was all part of a bigger plan. A few months earlier, PSG’s president voted and fought against the Super League.
At first sight, it was about protecting soccer/football tradition and the greater good of the fans.
But it was also a strategic move to build the PSG brand even more important.
It led to PSG being in the prime position to sign one of the best players of all time without paying one cent of transfer fees to their competitor.
Today we will look into the rise of Paris Saint Germain and how their strategy, the failed Super League, and the greatest transfer saga of all time shake up the balance of European football.
PGS’s Strategy: Collaborate and Disrupt
PGS’s commercial strategy can be condensed into one simple phrase “Collaborate and Disrupt”.
Officials at park de Paris understand that the most effective way of increasing brand exposure is to connect and collaborate with a wide range of people both inside and outside of football/soccer.
In the words of their director of Brand development, the mandate for every project we undertook was to spread the brand in different directions, to touch a different audience with each collaboration.
Initially, the main focus was on fashion, with PSG appearing at Paris fashion weeks alongside popular designers.
In 2018, the club joined forces with Michael Jordan and his Nike-affiliated Jumpman brand.
The Jumpman logo now appears on all PSG shirts and was successful in exposing the club to new audiences in the traditional soccer/football-shy North American market.
PSG didn’t stop at fashion and basketball. They also got into film and music.
In recent years, PSG partnered with the Justice League, movies, the Minions, and even the Rolling Stones.
PSG is always on the lookout for ways to disrupt the soccer/football market. In August 2017, PSG paid a world record of €222 million to sign Neymar from Barcelona, bringing massive media attention to Paris.
PSG had not only flexed its financial muscles but had also inflated the value of all players on the market, forcing PGS rivals to spend more money.
Their strategy of disruption influences pretty much everything PSG does.
In the words of their chief digital officer, “we are disrupting the world of soccer on and off the pitch.This club is not afraid to push boundaries”.
Has PSG’s strategy been effective?
In 2019, 20% of stadium visitors were from abroad, up from 2% before the Qatari takeover.
On top of this, PSG generates the most money per seat out of all the clubs in world football/soccer.
In 2011, PSG had a grand total of half a million followers across its social media platforms.
By 2020, they had more than 80 million. This increase in brand presence has allowed peers to negotiate better deals with commercial partners.
PSG generated €287 million through sponsorship deals in 2020, One of the highest in Europe, and 100 million more than all of the other 19 League 1 clubs combined.
PSG’s strategy to “Collaborate and Disrupt” has led to all this success already.
How Messi Fits In
Leaving aside Messi’s skills on the pitch, he also has a brand that PSG was happy to collaborate with.
When Ronaldo moved from Real Madrid to Juventus, the Turin club saw an 18% growth in their global fan base.
PSG can expect Messi to have an even greater impact.
Don’t drag us into the Messi, Ronaldo debates, but it is important to note that Messi’s global audience is around 15% larger than Ronaldo’s, thanks in part to his South American roots.
No one could imagine Barcelona without Messi, or vice versa, and most assumed that Messi would end his playing career at Camp Nou.
PSG chairman Nasser Al-khelaifi knew that another club taking Messi away from Barcelona would be the biggest disruption to soccer/football.
The stars aligned for PSG when Barcelona announced that La-Liga rules and $1.6 billion of debt meant that they could not afford to register, Messi.
PSG moved quickly to secure his services on a lucrative two-year deal.
Social media was set alive, and the saga dominated sporting headlines for days.
A feeling that PSG was now becoming all too familiar with. With one signing, they disrupted the balance of European football.
All of this without giving a single cent in transfer fees to Barcelona.
It is too early to determine the true impact of Messi’s move to PSG, but early signs appear to be positive.
The rapid growth of PSG’s global audience, shown by the instant increase in their social media engagement, will allow the club to negotiate even greater commercial deals.
Juventus did the same when Ronaldo joins, and some experts estimate that PSG could receive around €5 million per year from each of their main sponsors.
Reports that PSG has made over €100 million in shirt sales are false.
PSG will be lucky to receive 10% of the total sale price. After your factor in staff costs, it is unlikely that PSG has made more than €10 million from messy shirts.
This number is still impressive but does not even cover half of Messi’s yearly wages.
Al khelaifi was serious about disrupting football/soccer, but the messy transfer may not prove to be the most impactful thing he has done.
The massive acquisition could simply be a rather tasty buy product from his overall master plan.
The Bigger Plan and The Super League
The last time soccer broke the Internet was when the European Super League was announced.
There was one simple reason behind the idea of money. Most of the top clubs in soccer/football are bursting with debts.
For example, Manchester United has accumulated almost 500 million in net debts, and after years of financial mismanagement, Barcelona owed various people more than €1 billion.
The obvious solution would be for these clubs to generate more income. That is easier said than done.
Experts agree that broadcasting income peaked in 2018, and the Covid Pandemic has shown that clubs cannot rely on matchday income.
Desperate for money, the Super League clubs realized that if they created a league that was guaranteed to feature high-profile games, broadcasters, and commercial partners would pay more money.
With the Super League clubs desperate for money, Al-khelaifi saw an irresistible opportunity.
Not only did he refuse to allow PSG to join the breakaway league, but he also sided with UEFA and criticized the clubs involved for killing the dreams of the fans.
The absence of PSG was a tough blow for the Super League, and Al-khelaifi ‘s criticism added pressure on the rebel clubs to reconsider their decision.
While the PSG chairman may have gained some good PR from the situation.
His true motivation was probably more about disrupting the European soccer/football establishment.
He understood that without the financial boost of the Super League, clubs like Juventus, Barcelona, and Real Madrid would not be able to compete with PSG in the transfer market and may even need to sell players to raise funds.
His prediction turned out to be true.
With PSG snapping up Hakimi, Donnarumma, Ramos, and eventually even Messi from former Super League clubs.
it would be far-fetched to assume that Al-khelaifi opposed the Super League with the intention to sign Messi.
But eventually, his strategy led to signing one of the best players of all time without paying any transfer fee.
Ever since the Qatari takeover, PSG has been hunting for opportunities to revolutionize soccer/football.
They turned heads at Fashion Week and sparked endless debates with Neymar.
But signing Lionel Messi is perhaps their biggest achievement yet.
Whether Al-khelaifi masterminded this entire situation through careful manipulation of the Super League or if he just got lucky, PSG fans will not care.
There is only one thing that this newly formed super team still has to do win the Champions League.
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