Paris Saint-Germain have made significant strides in developing their brand on and off the pitch since Qatar Sports Investments took control of the club in 2011. PSG have become a force in French football, winning the league six times over the course of the last decade.
It has allowed them to become one of the most lucrative teams in the world, boasting the fifth-highest revenue in figures from the end of the 2018/19 season. Part of their financial success has been the successful use of their branding.
In 2018, the club partnered with Michael Jordan’s company ‘Jordan’ for the production of merchandise, featuring the brands of both the club and basketball’s GOAT. They have created products from his famous Air Jordan’s with a PSG twist to PSG basketball jerseys, usually priced in the range of $150 or €135. The Jordan Brand has also produced club shirts and training wear, which have been utilised during Champions League matches with the blessing of their subsidiary Nike.
Using their players as ambassadors for the brand, notably Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, has been a huge benefit, while even celebrities such as Justin Timberlake have also been spotted donning their merchandise. Forbes has reported that the Jordan Brand merchandise is worth up to $23m per season to the club along with their $88.3m deal with Nike as their primary kit sponsor. It highlights why PSG have become one of the richest clubs in the world and their revenue will only grow in the future with greater success on the field.
Given that the club have enjoyed a fruitful endeavour with outside the box thinking with their apparel, could there be other avenues of potential growth of their brand? Yes, there certainly are! Entertainment could be the way forward, with clubs of the ilk of Manchester City, Leeds and Sunderland showing the way with television shows on Amazon Prime and Netflix. Those teams were not paid by the respective productions, but the exposure alone is worth a huge amount in promoting the club to prospective fans around the world.
The world of gaming, particularly for football fans is dominated by FIFA. Barcelona have a unique partnership with Pro Evolution Soccer, which could be an area to explore for PSG, although there is a monopoly at the top of the market for those two games on consoles. However, one area which has not been ventured into by teams on the market are online slot games. Generic football-themed games are available at sites such as MrGold.com, which highlights their popularity, but the lack of branded games suggests it could be an area of opportunity.
The use of players’ faces and the PSG logo could be incorporated into the game, using the recognisable figures of Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and Edinson Cavani to drive home the brand recognition. It would certainly appeal to fans of the club and given that most teams around the world have a sponsorship with both gambling and gaming companies it would fit the models of Manchester United among others. It’s certainly an area that PSG could look to explore further in their bid to bolster their brand to match those of the truly elite clubs in the world.
Football at the very top is a battle for gravitas and revenue along with success on the pitch. PSG are behind clubs such as United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus and Liverpool in terms of their history and honours attained at the highest level. However, closing the gap in terms of their branding and the stature of the club with moves into new markets could be the way to increase their standing to attract the leading players in the world – in turn bringing honours back to the Parc des Princes.