Lionel Messi made his long-awaited Paris Saint-Germain debut just over two weeks ago as PSG ran out 2-0 winners over Reims. Reports in France suggest that over 10 million viewers tuned in to watch the game – a figure that would make it the most watched fixture ever in Ligue 1.
The Argentine superstar signed a two-year deal at the Parc des Princes with an option of a third year ending his long association with Spanish giants Barcelona. Messi is seen as a vital piece of the jigsaw for PSG to finally dominate Europe and is also seen as a major coup for Ligue 1 who will be looking to attract new viewers. For many years the problem with Ligue 1 has been keeping hold of talent who often leave for leagues like La Liga or the Premier League after a breakout season in Ligue 1. PSG have wealthy backers, they can offer big contracts to youngsters, but it’s often the case for others that talented players move away quickly with big European teams always looking to recruit the next Patrick Viera or Zinedine Zidane.
It’s clear to see that Ligue 1 has an amazing list of talented youngsters, it’s keeping hold of them and generating a competitive league that’s the issue. In recent years Monaco put together an amazing squad that were competitive in Ligue 1 and the Champions League, but they went onto sell their stars in Kylian Mbappe, James Rodriguez, Thomas Lemar and Anthony Martial.
When up and coming talent look to move aboard at the first opportunity the public interest is likely to follow, for Ligue 1 to grow popularity they now need to use the arrival of Messi to grow the league, for this to happen the likes of Lyon and Lille need to keep hold of talented youngsters and build for the future rather than making multiple sales every summer.
Another issue for Ligue 1 is the value of the TV contracts, the Premier League receive around 1.5bn in revenue from rights sold abroad, La Liga stand at around 900 million euros per season but by comparison Ligue 1’s guaranteed minimum is just 75 million euros up to 2024. For popularity to grow the league will need more than just Messi and PSG, other clubs will need investment to grow the overall standard of the league.
Messi will surely have an impact on attendance figures across the league, the average attendance was just 21,000 in recent seasons, but with the Argentine superstar lining up alongside Mbappe and Neymar home stadiums are likely to be sold out when PSG roll into town. If all this talk about world class football has got you fired up, then be sure to visit PlatinCasino to check out their games library which caters to every footy fan.
PSG will also benefit from the Messi effect with shirt sales and brand deals. Qatar Airways have already used Messi across social media accounts, Visit Qatar also who featured an image showing Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum, Achraf Hakini and Sergio Ramos with Qatar in the background. French giants Paris Saint-Germain have spent mega money in recent years putting together this talented squad, this will raise the profile of the league and surely increase viewing figures and awareness of the league. The key, however, will be if other teams can mount a challenge for the title, a competitive league will bring in more viewers.