French Leagues 'The Next Place To Be' For Investors, LFP Dir Didier Quillot Says
French Professional Football League (LFP) Dir General Didier Quillot spoke to Victory Sports Marketing Founder Gordon Kane at Wednesday’s Sports Business Journal Dealmakers in Sports conference in N.Y. about the latest regarding Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. Quillot answered 20 questions from Kane in 20 minutes, covering everything from the league’s DNCG, which regulates French clubs’ finances and ensures transparency to recent overseas investments by the likes of former MLB L.A. Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt, who bought Olympique de Marseille in ’16, and the recent takeover of Bordeaux by U.S. investment fund GACP.
Because its clubs cost far less than those in the Premier League, Quillot called France “the place to be” for int’l buyers hoping to get involved in European football. He said that while a team toward the bottom of the Premier League table like Newcastle United is worth a reported $350M, for that price, an investor could acquire a top-tier French club and have $200M left to invest. He claimed that this has not gone unnoticed, saying that two clubs located in well-known French cities are open to takeover talks.
When asked why French clubs currently appeal to investors, Quillot cited the talent France is producing, among other reasons. He pointed out that of the five most expensive player transfers in the last two years, three involved French footballers: Paris St. Germain’s Kylian Mbappé, ManU’s Paul Pogba and Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembélé.
Other signs of the growing value of the LFP are the fact that league wide, stadium attendance is improving, ticket prices and sponsorship value are on the rise and TV viewership figures are growing. All of those factors helped contribute to the landmark domestic TV rights deal the league signed in May for the ’20-24 cycle. Mediapro acquired the majority of the rights in a deal worth €1.15B ($1.31B) per season, which marked a 60% increase on the league’s previous domestic agreement.
When asked what he would say to a potential suitor for a Ligue 1 club, Quillot mentioned that over the next six years, France will host the Women’s World Cup in ’19, the 2023 Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Olympics.
“Come with us,” he said. “France is a place to invest. On top of Ligue 1’s momentum, France as a country is really the next place to be.”