As Lionel Messi’s move to PSG seemingly edges ever closer, with only a medical remaining – which is assumed to be a formality, RMC‘s thoughts have turned to the commercial aspect of the deal.
Of course, Messi will arrive as a free agent and without a transfer fee but he will also become PSG’s highest paid player and remain the world’s number one footballing earner as a €40m net yearly salary awaits in France. A figure that surpasses Neymar’s €36m annual pay.
With PSG, like the rest of France and world football, suffering in the wake of the financial struggles of the last 18 months, the club’s investment represents a sizeable outlay even for an institution with PSG’s mammoth backing after losses of €125m during the 2019/20 season alone and a reported deficit of between €250m and €300m.
However, Messi’s arrival could prove a significant financial boon for Paris as Grégoire Kopp, creator of GRK Impact & Comms, a management agency, told RMC:
“Lionel Messi was directly and indirectly responsible for 30% of Barça’s income. It’s very consistent. He opens up new markets.”
Although Ligue 1’s latest protracted broadcast deal has just been finalised, in a terrible piece of timing for the LFP with the world’s greatest player now likely to be added to the league, Ligue 1 will also be aiming to make the most of the deal and expand into new markets just as Neymar’s presence has done so. A broadcast deal with Dinsey’s streamer Star in Brazil was agreed as recently last month.
Virgile Caillet, general delegate of Union Sport et Cycle, a leader in the sport and leisure sector, explained to RMC that:
“As soon as you recruit him, you have an almost automatic amount of additional income; product derivatives, ticketing, partners. This is an unmissable opportunity. “
Incredibly, 200,000 to 300,000 additional PSG shirts are projected to be sold as a result of Messi’s arrival in Paris and Kopp even predicts that Parisian tourism could eventually enjoy a bump thanks to Messi’s signing, noting that “5% to 10% of tourists who went to Barcelona went there for Messi.”
Messi’s on-field impact in French football is set to be more than seismic but the 34-year-old Argentine forward could drag French football into another level entirely off the field too.