Football: will PSG have to leave the Parc des Princes?

Will Paris Saint-Germain leave its favorite Parc des Princes stadium? In any case, it is the threat that the club leaves hovering, very upset by the position of Anne Hidalgo, Saturday January 14, in The Parisian. “Very clearly, the Parc des Princes is not for sale. And it will not be sold. It is a firm and definitive position,” explains the mayor of the capital. The answer was not long in coming: “PSG and the Parc des Princes are part of the history and heritage of Paris. Everyone loses in the position taken by the mayor. Paris Saint-Germain are now forced to find alternative options to relocate the club,” he said in a statement.

“The same false promises”

This is a new episode in a long-running soap opera, which started with the 2011 takeover of the club by QSI (Qatar Sports Investments). Very quickly, the new owner expressed his wish to buy the stadium, which belongs to the city. “For me, it’s not a taboo subject at all. It is a question that can be discussed, indicated in 2014 Anne Hidalgo, then candidate for mayor of Paris. Once elected, she regularly exchanged with the leaders of PSG but without the sale ever succeeding. Which ended up tiring Nasser Al Khelaïfi, the president of PSG, who last November attacked the town hall head-on. “We have been discussing with them for five years. Every time it’s the same false promises (…) We’re tired of it all.” he said in the Spanish daily brand.

Located in the west of the capital, the Parc des Princes has existed since 1972. It is part of the history of PSG and many supporters are very attached to it. But the club believes that it is no longer economically possible to continue playing in a stadium with only 47,000 seats, while the big European clubs have enclosures that can accommodate more than 70,000 supporters. “With the Park in its current configuration, the shortfall is significant for PSG, which needs a larger stadium in order to increase its ticketing revenue, but also income related to VIP boxes”, indicates Jean-Pascal Gayant, sports economist and director of the IUT of Saint-Malo.

Because in the major European clubs, the stadiums are venues where everything contributes to bringing the maximum amount of money into the coffers, via the sale of tickets to ordinary spectators, but also via “top-of-the-range” boxes, rented in particular by companies to welcome their important customers. These stadiums also have restaurants or various shops that allow you to heat up the cash drawer.

According to a study published in 2016 by the firm Deloitte, the English club Arsenal, with its 60,000-seat stadium in London, had collected 132 million euros over the year, against 78 million for PSG with the Parc des Princes. And the Parisian club is a small player next to Real Madrid, which should open its new Santiago-Bernabeu stadium this year, with 85,000 seats. Admittedly, the Spanish club had to spend nearly 900 million euros to renovate it but, in the future, it could garner 400 million euros a year thanks to this enclosure which will be able to host concerts, tennis matches, basketball, American football or go-kart racing.

A proposal worth 40 million euros

With the money from Qatar, PSG would be ready to invest 500 million to modernize the Park and increase it to 60,000 places. But on condition of becoming its owner. Certainly, today, the club has a long-term lease that allows it to use the enclosure until 2043, subject to the payment of a fixed rent of one million euros per year, to which s adds a variable portion based on the club’s annual revenue.

In recent months, PSG has offered to buy the Park for 40 million euros, which has caused the mayor of Paris to jump, the latter estimating its property at a sum ranging from 200 to 350 million euros. “It does not seem unreasonable for a stadium of this size located in intramural Paris”, says Jean-Pascal Gayant. “In fact, in this case, there is a showdown between, on the one hand, the city, which believes that with its means Qatar can pay. And, on the other, the leaders of PSG, who have already invested more than 80 million to renovate the Park and have brought in the best players in the world to set up a first-rate team. continues the economist.

Finally, it is impossible to hide the political context: Anne Hidalgo does not have a free hand on this file today. Within its municipal majority, in fact, the communists and environmentalists are directly opposed to the sale of the Parc des Princes.


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