Paris, Eldorado in the making of Sport Business?
Already nicknamed the City of Light or the Capital of Love, it is even for many the most beautiful city in the world. Known until now for its architecture, monuments and history, what if Paris were to acquire a new asset thanks to sport? At least that is what is on the cards, since the French capital seems to be enjoying a whole new attractiveness in the eyes of international rights holders.
Paris is the new place to be.
It was an event in the capital. On January 17, the NBA hosted the first regular season game in its history in Paris. A poster that brought together all the Parisian gratin at the AccorHotels Arena starting with PSG players, actors, artists and other celebrities eager to live the famous experience of an NBA game. A success for the American league, which has already promised to return next year delighted with the excitement (as evidenced by the exorbitant ticket prices).
And the Americans are not mistaken, never before has Paris been so attractive in the eyes of international organizers. In 2018, it was the Ryder Cup which was a great first in France on the greens of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in the Paris region. The Women's World Cup opened the ball in Paris last year and in 2017 it was the World Handball and Ice Hockey Championships that did the same. The future looks just as bright, as there is no doubt that other major events will be added in the coming years to the 2024 Olympic Games and the 2023 Rugby World Cup (opening, semi-finals and final at the Stade de France).
Already world-renowned for its major annual competitions, including Roland Garros and the Tour de France, other types of events have recently been added to the Paris sporting calendar, such as the ePrix de Paris since 2016 (Formula E) and the League of Legends World Final (eSports), which brought together no fewer than 17,000 people at the AccorHotels Arena.
The same is true when it comes to business, since never before has the city hosted so many trade shows or conferences dedicated to sports marketing, sports innovation or merchandising.
The fruit of a collective effort.
This new attractiveness is not due to a single factor, but is the result of a collective effort. The quest for the Olympic Games for several years and the final official award in 2017 helped to make sport and its players more central to the city's major projects. Without the renovation work completed in 2015, the AccorHotels Arena, formerly Bercy, would never have been able to host an event on the scale of the NBA. Including Paris' La Défense Arena, the largest venue in Europe, the city has not one but two multi-purpose halls that can host major sporting events in addition to its stadiums (Stade de France, Parc des Princes, Jean-Bouin, Charléty, to name but a few).
In addition to this work being carried out in-house, the arrival of foreign investors has obviously greatly contributed to the development of Parisian sport. Thanks to the resources distilled by Qatar, the PSG has established itself as a global brand allowing the image of Roland Garros to shine in the eyes of the greatest number. On a smaller scale, handball has also benefited from these investments. On the verge of the crisis during the merger episode, the Stade Français found a buyer in 2017 from the Germans. Finally, Parisian basketball also has new ambitions with the Paris Basket club founded by a former NBA player.
Sports professionals, many of whom are based in the Paris region, can of course boast of having contributed to making Paris enjoy this global attractiveness. Event agencies, marketing agencies, media, sponsors and other communicators have greatly contributed through their past successes in making the city appear at its best. At the heart of these skills, new technologies and startup networks, notably through the Tremplin, contribute to the international influence of French know-how.
What place for Paris in the future?
With the Olympic Games in the spotlight, Paris can look to the future in the Sport Business sector. With new trends that are emerging thanks to digital technology and the development of new practices such as MMA, which has just been legalized in France, (future) professionals in the sector will have a lot to do in the coming years to continue the current dynamic. While London risks seeing its status called into question as a result of Brexit, Paris is more than ever in the running to become the European capital of Sport Business.
Michael Tapiro - Founder of the school