PSG outlines multi-sport future

12 Sep 2012

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) has signalled its intention to create a sporting empire modelled on FC Barcelona and Real Madrid in the latest demonstration of its growing ambition.

The Ligue 1 giant on Tuesday announced the relaunch of the city’s handball team, which has existed in various forms since 1941 and has been associated with the club since the 1990s. The move is the initial phase of a bid to develop a multi-sport entity around the PSG brand, and could also see the launch of a basketball club. Barcelona and Real Madrid, along with a host of Europe’s leading clubs, have traditionally employed this model. “The idea is to rapidly create a large multi-sport club to promote the global project of Paris Saint-Germain,” said PSG director general Jean-Claude Blanc, according to Eurosport. “We will not stop at handball even if, for now, there is no specific list or timeframe of sports and deadlines.”

The new strategy reflects the latest move by the club’s new owners in an era of great change. Qatar Sports Investment (QSI) in March acquired the remaining 30% stake in PSG in a deal that valued the club at Eur100 million. QSI had originally acquired a 70% stake from US investment firm Colony Capital in June 2011. Following the bitter disappointment of losing out on the 2011-12 Ligue 1 title to Montpellier on the final day of last season, QSI has signalled its intention to make an even stronger challenge at home and in Europe by embarking on a spending spree this summer.

This year also saw the announcement that PSG would seek to market its rapidly developing brand in-house after reaching an agreement to end its partnership with Sportfive, while the club is also investigating stadium options. The preferred course of action is a new 60,000-seat stadium on the same site as the Parc des Princes or increasing the current capacity to 50,000 in one stage of redevelopment. Regarding Tuesday’s announcement, Blanc added: “We think Paris deserves a big club. If we look at equivalent cities in Europe, we can point to the big Spanish clubs, with the end result having Barcelona and Real Madrid among the best across sports, even if football is the main attraction.”