Foot business: Neymar-PSG, a fruitful marriage, a future to be clarified

In this area, it’s a win-win situation. Superstar with a global aura, Neymar is a marketing phenomenon whose booming business benefits Paris SG, who hopes to extend the Brazilian’s contract expiring in 2022.

“Recruiting a player of this caliber is not an expense, it is the best investment in the world!” Sums up to AFP Jordi Farré, one of the contenders for the presidency of FC Barcelona, ​​the former club of the star striker (2013-2017).

Barça can legitimately hold a grudge against “Ney”, who slammed the door during his resounding departure.

But faced with the income that his return could generate, some in Catalonia are ready to forgive him: “Neymar would cost us very little, because he sells rights, jerseys, advertising, sponsors …”, adds the candidate.

The 28-year-old Brazilian is not only one of the most talented players on the planet, a potential Ballon d’Or (3rd in the prestigious trophy in 2015 and 2017). It is also an economic machine which dribbles the crisis as well as its extrasport business.

His contract formalized in September with Puma, which brings him between 20 and 25 million euros according to the press, would be the largest ever signed between a footballer and an equipment supplier.

– “The day and the night” –

Its 144 million subscribers on Instagram, four times more than PSG, make it the 10th most followed personality on the popular social network. In Brazil, he is the athlete who generated the most engagements on Twitter in 2020.

The man with revenues estimated at nearly 80 million euros this year by Forbes magazine, appears in the advertisements of the Italian fashion brands Replay and Diesel, the airline Qatar Airways, the Austrian group Red Bull or even of the French operator SFR.

“Neymar shines, and in more places than the PSG! His + personal branding + (his personal brand, Editor’s note) is so strong. He interests a lot of people, and not only football fans”, explains Jérôme Neveu, president- founder of the firm Advent, specialist in sports marketing.

At the time of the ongoing negotiations to extend his contract, this economic data is essential for a club like PSG which has taken advantage of the aura of its superstars, from David Beckham to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, to develop.

For the moment, the record investment to snatch Neymar from Barcelona (EUR 222 million) translates into a turnover up 30% between 2017 and 2019 (EUR 636 million) according to the firm Deloitte, before the Covid crisis -19. It coincides with the entry into the world top 5 of PSG, boosted by its new contracts, signed in 2019, with Nike and Accor.

In China, where Paris is trying to sell its “lifestyle” image, “Neymar has changed everything”, explains Robert Li, member of the club’s Chinese fan club. “Before his arrival, PSG gathered rather connoisseurs. Today, we see young girls arriving with the Brazilian jersey, teenagers … It’s day and night!”

“He is young, handsome, glamorous, a bit like Paris. Even people with Barça jerseys come to the fan club, because Neymar,” he continues.

The Brazilian with the original cuts has managed to grow his image, despite several scandals, such as when accusations of rape targeted him in 2019 (file closed) or his tax disputes in Spain … not to mention the rolls that sparked mockery at the 2018 World Cup.

– The ranking factor –

“The majority of his followers are content with his way of playing, without there being any impact on what may happen elsewhere,” analyzes Boris Helleu, expert in digital strategies in sport.

“He has a strong notoriety, but he can also be divisive”, nuance Jérôme Neveu.

Clivant, “Ney” can be in the capital too, where some supporters blame him for his many injuries. But the PSG is linked to its N.10 in its quest for new markets: “In brand equity, there is a ranking factor, which nourishes membership,” recalls Boris Helleu.

Neymar runs behind his first Ballon d’Or, PSG behind the Champions League … And if their marriage was to last, while Paris has chosen to change coach with the expected arrival of the Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino ?

“It’s important to have a superstar, but there is the possibility of changing,” concludes Jean-Pascal Gayant, professor of economics at the University of Le Mans. “For me, Neymar is replaceable.”

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