If anyone wants to prove how important a conscious professional background has become in terms of player monitoring and new player signings, it is enough to point to the achievements of Paris Saint-German. It’s a club with a general attitude that, whatever the sport, the most famous and expensive players are the ones who are brought in. Then the public, the professionals, almost everyone expects great results, but they just don’t come. Because it’s clear that a team can function with comradery, it’s not enough to bring together individual stars.
From football to two under
Let’s look at football, which is a big crowd favourite. Although PSG has won the French championships – and this is by no means looking down on other French clubs who are a long way from PSG’s level even in terms of budget – this is not a great success. So, the kind of thinking — if you put enough money into buying players, it will bring results no matter what — makes sense here. However, the premise is that the difference must be really drastic in terms of money, and the other teams can’t spend nearly as much. At the domestic league level, this seems to be achieved, at least almost always, as the 2016-17 season, for example, was a failure in this area. The real measure of value, however, is the performance on the European stage in relation to conscious work. Here, PSG are in a very poor position, having only reached the Champions League final once, in the 2019-20 season, but they failed to reach the final, and failed to do so easily. And yet the club has some of the biggest stars in the world. Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Neymar, and we could go on and on about the top players who have strengthened the club. Many pundits say that one of these stars would be enough for any team to win the Champions League, if the club could really function as a team. The club hit a serious low after the turn of the millennium, and then a brand-new era began in 2011, when Nasser Al-Khelaifi became president and Qatari billions started to flow into the team. In hindsight, it has not been a great success in more than ten years, and although no one knows the exact amount spent on building the dream team, it certainly seems a poor investment in terms of the victories achieved.
The real achievement
But even at the time of the big announcement in 2011, the real experts knew full well that it would only be a good side benefit if the team really did rise to the top. However, a club’s revenue is not just about cup wins. Obviously, the prize money for first place cannot be neglected, but it does not even come close to the income from fans and sponsors. Just think of what a big news story the last time Messi was signed. What a fuss the media made and how the PSG Messi jerseys started selling out. Merchandising, or the image of the sporting event, is one of the pull items in terms of revenue, and if you think about it, in the ranking of the highest-selling jerseys in the world today, Messi’s shirt alone sold 1.2 million in 2021, while Mbappé’s jersey sold 790,000. Just looking at those two players and the revenue from that very impressive amount, there can’t be that much of a problem with the club’s finances. After all, there are ticket sales, sales of other accessories, and these are exactly what is most important in modern football. At the start of the new era of the club, there was a lot of talk about getting money out of Africa and other things, for which even non-profit football is a good business. Well, looking at the numbers from the outside, it looks very much as if, although the fans may not be entirely happy, as long as they buy 2 million shirts from just two star players, the investors are not sad.