The story of Paris’ biggest soccer club, Paris Saint-Germain, is a young and still developing one. Formed 49 years ago, PSG have spent the better part of the last decade winning everything there is to win in French soccer. The club is grand in nature, spending 300 million Euros on a world class training facility in the suburbs of Paris and over $1 billion on players since 2011. However, it’s grandest goal of all lives outside the painted lines of the soccer field at Parc des Princes.
PSG’s goal is to eclipse the sport of soccer and become the biggest sports brand in the world. Their pathway to reaching this goal takes many roads that include global player recruitment to a team that wins, growing influence in other sport silos (like women sports or eSports), lifestyle brand partnerships, and much more.
PSG has one major asset that other clubs cannot claim – the city of Paris. La Ville Lumière means many things to any one person. For some it may mean the fashion capital of the world, to others an extravagant city filled with the world’s best food and to some a city of love. This fluidity allows for the soccer club to play in many different worlds, most notable is the world of fashion. Over the course of 2018-2019, we’ve seen PSG transform from a club that sells soccer jerseys to a club that sells lifestyle pieces. Because of this transformation, the club has been able to reach many new fans whom they wouldn’t be able to reach simply as a soccer team. This is best characterized through PSG’s recent partnerships with lifestyle brands like Jordan Brand and BAPE.
Like many lifestyle brands, the pieces produced in collaboration with BAPE and Jordan Brand follow the similar scarcity model that many famous brands do like Supreme. This scarcity model creates added demand for potential purchasers. Moreover, the general price point of some of these pieces have allowed for some major influencers. PSG has tried to position itself as the leading brand for major influencers. This has paid off enormously with influencers the like of Kendall Jenner, Travis Scott, Beyoncé, and Justin Timberlake who have all been seen repping the club’s jersey either at a match or at events across the world.
Herein lies where PSG is trying to go and what they are trying to be – a brand rather than a just a soccer club. They want to be the first entity you think of when you think of lifestyle and sport. Whether that’s eSports – PSG was the first club to house a professional eSports team – fashion, or soccer.
Another way they are driving this home is by opening global satellite offices such as the recently opened office in New York City. Being near a major target market for them allows the club to better target who they are going after through many different avenues. These avenues can be a simple as hosting summer soccer camps all across the country, working diligently to open further supporters’ groups, or even working closer with U.S. based brands like Levi’s. Having their hand in this market allows them to control how their brand is perceived and where they will go next.
That is what is most intriguing about PSG. They lack the dense history which may pigeonhole them into operating one specific way. Being relatively young in the sport allows them to experiment all across the board and build the brand that they think will stand the test of time. The question that remains through all of this experimentation is, “will they?”