November 27, 2021

Global TV audience expected to rise for Messi’s first steps in Ligue 1 Classico

They were five million, last season, to follow the victory of the Marseillais on the lawn of the Parc des Princes. This year, the arrival of the six-fold golden ball, Lionel Messi, could well take off the audience. The perfect move for the Professional Football League (LFP) which hopes to increase “significantly the scope of the championship internationally” this season.

It is an axis of progress for Ligue 1, which has made development abroad one of its salvation plans: for the time being, its international TV rights are limited to around 80 million. euros per year until 2024, far from the 1.5 billion euros of the English Premier League, the championship that generates the most money, or even the 139 million euros of the Italian Serie A (excluding United and Middle East).

And a prestigious poster like the Classico OM-PSG, enhanced by the brilliance of Messi’s six Ballons d’Or and the good form of the Olympians in Sampaoli sauce, can help sell Ligue 1 better outside France in the next one. duty cycle.

Last year, for Marseille’s 1-0 victory at the Parc des Princes on September 13, 2020, nearly five million viewers followed the match internationally. the “climax” of a 2020-2021 season where Ligue 1, broadcast by 55 channels in 208 territories according to the LFP, generated a cumulative audience of 580 million viewers, a figure up 20%.

“The trend is expected to continue in the 2021-2022 season, which will see Ligue 1 benefit from unprecedented international coverage”, notes the LFP, welcoming the new large-scale broadcasters in China (Migu), India (Viacom18), Brazil (ESPN), the Netherlands (Ziggo) and Italy (Sky).

This influx of broadcasters “will significantly increase the scope of the championship internationally”, underlines the League, which says it already measures the effects. Messi’s first match with PSG in Reims on August 29 (2-0) smashed the Ligue 1 audience record abroad with more than 14 million viewers, according to the LFP. However, the room for improvement remains immense.

Spanish La Liga claims no less than 650 million potential viewers “around the world” for the Barcelona-Real Madrid clasico on Sunday (4:15 p.m.), ensuring that “the most followed club poster” on the planet. A postulate to be qualified because Ligue 1, broadcast in China on the public channel CCTV, has a showcase to more than a billion potential viewers …

In Spain, the Cuatro channel decided to broadcast the classic OM-PSG in clear and live Sunday evening with in particular the former striker Fernando Morientes, briefly passed by OM (2009-10), to the comments.

Cuatro was encouraged by the audiences of Telecinco (another channel of the Mediaset group) for the Reims-PSG meeting, which has become the most watched football match of a foreign championship in the history of Spanish television with 2.2 million average viewers, and peaks at 6.7 million, according to Mediaset.

“Obviously the interest in Spain is higher than before, as the numbers from Messi’s first game against Reims proved”, notes for AFP a communications manager of the Kosmos group, headed by Gerard Piqué, which holds the marketing rights for Ligue 1 in Spain. “There should be at least as many people (Sunday) as for that match. The Spanish public consumes French football because it consumes its stars.”

In Brazil, the “Classic” has been broadcast for several years, especially since Neymar wears the colors of the Parisian club. For Brazilian viewers, more than the OM-PSG poster, it is above all the Parisian club that attracts attention, for the presence of “Ney” and Messi. But the Auriverde press is also looking at the results of Jorge Sampaoli’s OM, since the Argentine technician managed Santos and Atlético Mineiro.

In England, a country little turned towards foreign football, the broadcaster BT Sports will give priority on Sunday to the Italian clash Inter Milan-Juventus Turin (8:45 p.m.) on its channel BT Sports 1, the OM-PSG poster being relegated to BT Sports 2. According to a YouGov poll released this week, only 12% of UK football fans show an interest in Ligue 1, while 23% of those polled say they are interested in Spain’s La Liga.

Finally, in Italy, the meeting broadcast on Sky is likely to suffer from media competition from two major sporting events on Sunday: the last MotoGP Grand Prix in Italy for icon Valentino Rossi, and especially Inter-Juve in Serie A, at the same time that OM-PSG.