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PSG: Continue to “dream bigger” without Kylian Mbappé

Vincent Chaudel is a marketing expert and co-founder of the Sport Business Observatory, the Think Tank of the In firm.

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PSG: Continue to “dream bigger” without Kylian Mbappé

Vincent Chaudel is a marketing expert and co-founder of the Sport Business Observatory, the Think Tank of the In firm

On February 15, Kylian Mbappé announced his decision: he will no longer wear the colors of PSG next season. Since there is no great club without a great player, PSG therefore has 6 months ahead of it to demonstrate that the club has no or no longer any “Mbappé” dependence. If commercially, the study by the firm Circle Strategy provides some answers, Luis Enrique seems to be looking for the right formula for several matches.

The announcement of the future departure of Kylian Mbappé triggered a media storm, in France and in Spain. For many observers, the departure of the “kid from Bondy” represents a real challenge for the capital club. With the 4th squad valued at €1.03 billion, Paris Saint-Germain was naturally one of the favorites for this edition of the Champions League. Without its attacking leader (valued at €180 million), it would only be the 7th European squad.

It's difficult to reduce the performance of a team to a single player, especially when that player has had players like Cavani, Di Maria, Messi, Neymar, Silva or Verratti as teammates. However, with him on the pitch, Paris SG reached the C1 final in 2020 and the ½ in 2021. Since his arrival at PSG in 2017, Kylian Mbappé has been a central figure in the club's sporting success. His contributions are undeniable, including 5 Championship titles, 3 French Cups, 293 matches, scored 244 goals and made 93 assists. Analyzes carried out by Circle Strategy show a notable decrease in PSG's dominance in Ligue 1 in the absence of Mbappé, translated into an average loss of 8 points per season.

All networks combined, the community of PSG fans now peaks at 246 million followers, including 65 million on Instragam. Obviously, the club was able to benefit from the aura and “super-connectors” of its Leo Messi, Neymar and Mbappé whose communities on Insta are respectively 500 million, 219 million and 112 million followers. In fact, the presence of these 3 “galactics” allowed PSG to become the European champion… commercial revenue: €399.4 million in 2023 (175% compared to 2017). These revenues being the result of multi-year contracts, the departure of the captain of the French team should therefore only have a marginal impact on turnover, at least in the short term.

Maxime Van Steenberghe, Director of Circle Strategy, specifies: “No one has yet fully measured the impact of Kylian MBappé’s departure from PSG. The independent study demonstrates that Mbappé had an unprecedented economic impact for PSG, for Ligue 1, and even for France”. Plus 40% of PSG jerseys sold, plus 67% of ticketing revenue or even more than €80 million in broadcast rights. But it is also more than 33% of interest for "PSG" on Google Trends during the Blues matches of the 2022 World Cup, plus 78% of interest for "Paris" on Google Trends during the Champions matches League. For France, between social security contributions, employer contributions, corporate and income tax, the “Mbappé business” represents around €100 million per year in tax revenue.

By buying PSG for €70 million, Qatar Sports Investissement became the owner of a club that is certainly economically fragile but has great potential. In order to contribute to the soft power strategy designed by the emirate, the club had to nourish a European ambition. Recruiting players of “Champions League” standing was therefore an obligation that the marketing value of the moment could not finance without support from its shareholder. Developing the “PSG” brand by relying on the “marquee player” aura has been the club’s strategic focus. Immediately, immediately, under the leadership of Leonardo, the fans saw the arrival of Beckham, Cavani, Ibrahimović, Motta, Pastore, Silva... Formile winning if we judge by the evolution of the equipment contract increasing from €2.5 million in 2011 at €80 million this season.

Under the Mbappé era (2017–2024), the club's valuation increased from €841 million to €4.21 billion. Now economically a major player in Europe, PSG must make its sporting project the priority of the decade. Like Manchester City, the key success factors are known: playing identity, management stability, stadium expansion, training center, recruitment of rising stars who will blend into a collective. With its brand new Poissy campus and the appointment of Luis Enrique last summer, Qatari leaders seem to have taken the first steps in what could be called the 2nd stage of the rocket.

“Mbappé is a real shooting star who passed through Paris but who flies to other skies. PSG must absolutely find a new economic model” adds Jean-Marc Liduena, CEO of Circle Strategy. This will involve a larger stadium for more ticket revenue, TV rights, better runs in the European Cup and “bankable” players.

The arrival of Arctos in the capital, the club gave itself the means to manage the subject of the stadium, with or without the City of Paris. On the sporting side, the departure of Mbappé freeing up €6 million in monthly salary, it is a safe bet that the club will be active during the next Mercato in order to strengthen the collective. In terms of marketing, young Kang-in Lee is the best seller of jerseys this season. But Mbappé's departure comes at the worst time for the negotiation of Ligue 1 TV rights, both domestic and international. If the LFP does not obtain the famous billion, it is French adversity which will suffer the most.

While waiting to know who will broadcast the French championship and for how much, the best option to maintain the club's lifestyle remains a good run in C1. Qualification in the quarter-finals would guarantee the club to pass the €100 million mark, more than €150 million for a victory in the final. The next step therefore takes place this Tuesday with a positive result in the Reale Arena (San Sebastián).

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