Une nouvelle ère commence pic.twitter.com/eN6havnS4N— FC Girondins de Bordeaux (@girondins) November 8, 2018
Just months after his appointment as CCO of Paris 2024 this past summer, a role the former Olympic gymnast called a “dream job,” Frédéric Longuépée received an offer he couldn't refuse.
The new American owner of Ligue 1 club Bordeaux -- investment group GACP -- came calling, and though Longuépée said leaving Paris 2024 was "not an easy decision," he was swayed by the "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a No. 1" at the French club.
“It’s a natural follow-up after being No. 3 at PSG, which was an incredible journey,” Longuépée said. “Bordeaux has an incredible story in the French national championship, in a city which is probably, after Paris, the second-most well-known city [in France]. Everybody knows Bordeaux. It has an incredible brand image and there is a unique opportunity to capture what Bordeaux represents in terms of expertise, savoir-faire and elegance.”
Longuépée was Paris St. Germain’s exec VP, business operations from ’12 until this summer. He said that he is hopeful a commercial strategy like the one he helped lead at PSG, where annual revenue increased from €90M when he started to €500M by his final year, can have a similar impact at Bordeaux. The club, which was founded in 1881 and has won six Ligue 1 titles, boasts a 40,000-seat stadium completed in ’15, an “incredible” training facility at Chateau du Haillan, and now, an ambitious new ownership group.
“Being American, they know that it’s not only a football project; it’s much more than that,” Longuépée said of GACP. “The sports side, together with the non-sports side, are incredibly bound together. What [GACP] liked was what we were able to develop with Paris in terms of commercial activity and international brand appeal. That’s the beauty of having an owner who has the vision to develop something different. … It’s important to have a vision which is different from the usual way of driving a football club. The marketing is not only on the pitch.”
A PROPER SPORTS ORGANIZATION: While Longuépée said that Bordeaux will attempt to replicate PSG’s success incorporating the brand image of its home city, he said that his new club will take a much different approach to player acquisition and development.
“We should not compare a club which is owned by a state and a club which is owned by a private equity firm,” he said. “It’s not the same. We will have to drive things differently. We will focus also on the capacity to attract young talent that would feed the professional team. We will trust in a sports director for that, to implement a proper sports organization.”
Longuépée added, “We don't plan to compete with Paris Saint-Germain on €100 million player acquisitions but find other ways to ensure our competitiveness on the field. But eventually, I think we have the means to compete with Marseille, to compete with Lille, to compete with St. Etienne and qualify for European competition.”
‘SOMETHING YOU CREATE’: After two major career changes in such a short period of time, Longuépée said of his recent appointments, "It’s been incredible. I don’t think things happen by hazard or by chance. I’m a really pragmatic guy, but in the end, it’s also something you create along the way: the way you work, the network you have managed to build over the years, the way you behave on a daily basis with people you work with. Nothing happens by chance."