When Lionel Messi called Paris Saint-Germain, on the same summer day that Joan Laporta left him stranded in the famous meeting in which the Barcelona president backed out and broke the renewal pact, in the offices of the French club on Avenue Emila Zola in Boulogne asked for a little time.
The accounts no longer counted on making room for Leo and his wage bill, which this first season has been 40 million euros net, and asked for a little time because the operation had to be studied.
PSG took the plunge and signed Messi. In the accounts of the directors, it was calculated that Leo’s arrival would bring in enough income from image rights, marketing and stadium exploitation to not impact the club’s finances.
That theory has been proved right, as Nasser al Khelaifi told MARCA. The objective now with the renewal of Kylian Mbappe, who shares image rights with the club, is to further improve revenues from all these concepts.
More and better contracts with sponsors
The truth is that Leo’s arrival brought 10 new sponsorship contracts and, as the director of this area of the club, Marc Armstrong, also commented, in addition to the power of attraction, the agreements were for more money than they could have been without the Argentinian.
“We have certainly seen growth in areas where we could reach agreements of between 3 to 5 million and now they are between 5 and 8 million, so the impact is considerable,” he explained.
Indeed, revenue from this concept is estimated to have grown by 13% and brands such as Dior, Gorillas, Crypto.com, Autohero, GOAT, Smart Good Things, Infinity Sports Water, Geekvape, PlayBetR, Volt and Big Cola entered PSG‘s sponsors list.
As for cryptocurrencies, which are suffering at the moment, the value of PSG‘s coin doubled when it became known that they were signing Messi, who collects part of his wages in fan tokens.
“We were closing a deal with a cryptocurrency before signing Messi and in the following weeks the price skyrocketed because people showed more interest in jumping on board,” Armstrong added.
All of those factors combined meant that the club has surpassed 300 million in revenue this season for the first time in its history.
Shirt sales, another record
Another area where PSG has grown exponentially with the arrival of Messi is in shirt sales.
The club has already entered another dimension with the arrival of Neymar and the development of Mbappe, but Messi took things to a whole new level.
The No.30 allowed the club to equal the club’s turnover from the 2020/21 season in merchandising in the middle of the campaign (41 million euros).
For the first time, more than one million shirts were sold, 60% of which with the number 30 of La Pulga, to join Manchester United as the club that sold the most shirts worldwide last season thanks in part also to its agreement with the Jordan brand.
With Messi‘s arrival, the club has moved its official store on the Champs-Elysees to double its floor space and increase its revenue also in lifestyle products.
“Demand has grown by 30 to 40% and really what can slow it down is supply. When a signing of this size happens, [Cristiano] Ronaldo to [Manchester] United for example, you might think he’s going to get paid by selling shirts, but that’s not the case. You can’t produce a lot of extra shirts,” Armstrong explained to MARCA.
“The agreement is set to guarantee very important minimums but we can’t meet the demand for Messi shirts. We have reached the ceiling. Nobody can meet that demand.
“We are already selling a lot of jerseys, maybe more than any other team in the world for one player, and that puts us at the next level.
“We have a lot of demand for lifestyle products, the revenue with the Jordan brand is huge, but the demand grows even more when you sign a player like Messi.”
Messi’s impact on social
Messi‘s arrival also had a huge impact on the club’s social networks as soon as his arrival was announced.
Following confirmation of the signing, the club gained 15 million followers across all platforms and surpassed the 150 million mark for the first time.
“We gained an average of 1.4 million per week and were the first club to reach 10 and 20 million followers on TikTok or the top French brand on Instagram,” Armstrong adds.
Stadium revenues soar
Messi‘s arrival has also led to a significant increase in ticket revenue and the club has increased its waiting list since Messi‘s arrival, while legal resale of tickets, through a platform controlled by the club itself on its website, has skyrocketed.
“We are now sold out at every game, with record revenue among European clubs per seat, with eight times the number of fans going without tickets or VIP, so clearly it has been a turning point,” Armstong said.