Champion (of business) my brother! Despite another gloomy season for Paris Saint-Germain, punctuated by yet another pitiful elimination in the 8th final of the Champions League, a game that borders on the ridiculous, cascading extra-sporting affairs and a quarrel with its ultras, the club of the capital will have at least achieved a feat. That of becoming, according to the latest study by Deloitte dated last January, the number 1 club in Europe on revenue from ticketing, ahead of the continent's behemoths that are usually Real Madrid, FC Barcelona or Manchester United. All with a stadium with a capacity of only 47,000 seats, when Camp Nou or Santiago Bernabu display gauges close to 100,000 seats.
It must be said that in recent years, the club has worked hard to develop what are called hospitality (the most expensive and comfortable boxes and seats in the stadium), increasing from 1,500 to 4,642 seats, which today represents 10% of the Park's capacity and nearly 50% of ticket revenue. "The indicator that shows all the in-depth work carried out by PSG leaders at this level is the considerable increase in the number of employees on all commercial, marketing and ticketing activities. There has been a very thorough effort on this, it shows to what extent it is a fundamental strategic element in the thinking of leaders, "analyzes Ludovic Lestrelin, teacher-researcher at the University of Caen Normandy and author of the book Sociology of Supporters published by La Découverte.
See Messi as we go to see the Mona Lisa
The problem is that this high society that rushes to the stadium to revel in the acceleration of Kyks or Messi's (rare) free kicks, between two bites of petit fours and a sip of field', has ended up winning other places in the Park, to the point of making this enclosure a place light years away from the boiling cauldron it was before the arrival of QSI (and the Leroux plan). In Paris as elsewhere, it is difficult to have your cake and eat it too. Interviewed at the exit of the stadium by the independent media Canal Supporter, in early May, a fan perfectly summarizes what they are more and more numerous to denounce.
"The Parc des Princes has become Dysneyland. 3/4 of people don't give a shit, they are there with their Tigers jersey, they come to take pictures of Messi, they don't care about PSG, it disgusts me more and more. I've been in the same stand for ten years and the more years go by, the more people arrive late, they leave before half-time to go to eat. We are no longer in a football stadium, it has become an open-air museum. »
From our little personal experience, it is difficult to prove this supporter wrong. Just stroll around the Park a few hours before the matches to realize the sociological transformation of the public in recent years. It's hard to walk two meters without mostly hearing Spanish, English, Chinese or Japanese. We now come to the Park to see Messi and Mbappé as we go to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa. Because it looks good. Supporting Paris Saint-Germain is no longer a prerequisite today.
"People come to see a show... »
"It's still nice to come to the Parc even if we are not concerned by the match, told us Charles and Alexandre, two Rennes supporters living in Paris, before the reception of Lens. Especially for a high-stakes match like that. And then Paris, well, even if it's not famous this year, there is always Mbappe and Messi." CQFD. "Today people come to see a show," laments this influential member of the Collectif Ultras Paris. Whether PSG win or not, sometimes you have the impression that if Messi scores a goal it is enough for their happiness. »
Crossed a few meters away, Paul came to pass on the passion of the club to his son. Of the month he tries. "At the moment he is more for Mbappé than for Paris but it will come! But it's not as easy as it used to be to fall in love with the Park. When I was younger, the days of Weah, Rai, it was boiling here. I miss it... ».
The old Parc des Princes was something atmosphere level with the two corners! I regret not having known him by having made a dep. https://t.co/9sTwclpxi7
— Andy 🇨🇻 (@AndyGlllr) May 11, 2023
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"The composition of the public is in a way in the hands of senior managers," explains Ludovic Lestrelin. Paris Saint-Germain has embarked on the path of stardom, with an ultra-offensive marketing policy, the desire to build a global brand, the leaders have never hidden it and today the Parc des Princes is only the reflection of all this. »
Due to a lack of affordable places, the working classes from the Paris region no longer have a real voice. A problem accentuated in recent years by the ticket resale system on the Ticketplace platform, which has exploded prices on the secondary market. On arrival, this heterogeneous and mostly affluent public no longer seems animated by the same passion as its ancestors, which is inevitably felt from an atmospheric point of view.
Auteuil not spared by the Ticketplace effect
If some small groups have tried to revive the Boulogne stand in recent seasons, the club has made them understand that it was not the place to atmosphere. "The park is horrible, apart from Auteuil it has become a stadium of tourists, says David, 22 years of tribune on the counter. In Boulogne, I'm not talking about it, we don't have the same neighbors from one match to the next because of Ticketplace and ticket resales. But you can't ask tourists to sing."
If the ultras of the CUP, massed in the Auteuil corner, still manage to set fire to the stadium, they regularly suffer many criticisms from historical supporters who have deserted the enclosure since the implementation of the Leroux Plan. Because, here too, Ticketplace is wreaking havoc.
The last time, I met a group of about forty Asian tourists near the stadium, and half an hour later I realized that they were twenty meters from us in the Auteuil bend!, chokes a member of the Collectif Ultras Paris. To bring the corner to life, we need active supporters, guys who know the chants and ultras codes, which is not always the case lately. That's why we partly denounce the Ticketplace system, we would like to put limits on it by introducing a fare cap. I understand that the club needs to attract tourists because it brings money into the coffers, but it must not be done only at the expense of historical supporters and the working classes. »
Saturday night, against Ajaccio, the atmosphere is still likely to take a new blow in the tiles, the CUP having decided to strike encouragement until further notice to protest against the lack of involvement of the players and the lack of consideration on the part of the management. But as long as the hospitality is armored, PSG should live with it.
- Paris-Saint-Germain (PSG)
- Parc des Princes
- Ligue 1