We recently had the opportunity to sit down and have a chat with Paris Saint-Germain’s Asia Pacific Managing Director. Sebastien Wasels – about their official launch if the club’s APAC office in Singapore.
The regional headquarters will serve the Club’s aim to build on its international presence, increase the brand’s visibility, cultivate new partnerships and nurture its significant fan base it has in the region.
Why did PSG choose Singapore, and why now?
Since the club was taken over by Qatar Sports Investment, it has transformed drastically – becoming a glorious football club and a global sports brand. With the arrivals of Neymar and Mbappe, we felt it was the right time. Despite being a globally recognized football club, it is still a very young and early project.
Just like any company approaching foreign markets, you only settle in when your brand is strong enough. Also, a quarter of our fans around the world are living here in Asia and we are very happy to be here.
Singapore gave us the opportunity to get closer to our key markets and is a huge business hub. Key brands in our industry have also set up here and that makes us neighbors with our potential partners.
How challenging do you think it will be to convert the Asian market, which mainly supports the English Premier League?
We like challenges at PSG! The EPL has been extremely strong in the market with their TV broadcast rights and exposure. Ligue 1 is aiming for something similar, to boost our broadcast value and exposure.
Ultimately we are taking a different approach, we are the club of Paris. If we take London for example, there are a few clubs representing the city. However when it comes to Paris, there is only one PSG.
We capture the essence of Paris itself in our club, from our logo to everything that we embody. We believe this will be very appealing to the Asian market, and it also helps that we have the two most “sexy” and “exciting” players in time to come, with Neymar and Mbappe. They are the future of football, and that will help us in penetrating the Asian market.
From a commercial perspective, PSG is not a tribal club – there is only one PSG in Paris. For example, brands may be reluctant to get married to a club like Manchester United – because then they risk losing Liverpool or Manchester City fans as potential customers. Brands wouldn’t face the same issue with PSG.
Barring the Champions League, we have won everything there is to win in France – and that puts us in a pole position for marketing and sponsorship.
How can PSG win new fans in singapore without bringing star players here?
We’ve had a number of key players participate in the World Cup and it is very important for them to have a break. We have key players such as Buffon, Verratti and Draxler engaging the community over their time in Singapore together with the team. This is a start of a very exciting journey, and we will win them over step by step.
It seems like the PSG branding hinges on Neymar and Mbappe staying at the club in the long run, what happens if a club like Real Madrid decides to poach them?
Well, they can try. We’ve had a long list of key players linked to other clubs, but as far as i can tell – those key players are still with us. Mbappe was born and raised in Paris, he loves the club and city. Neymar on the other hand, could have gone to any club in the world – but he chose PSG.
These two players have the world at their feet and they have chosen PSG. It’s one thing to join Real Madrid and win their next Champions League, but it’s an entirely different feeling to create history with PSG and win our first Champions League trophy. Simply put, we don’t need to sell our best players.
Are there any plans to grow the local football scene in Singapore?
We are building our brand and fan-base, so we are very keen on helping the local football scene.
The French are well known for the quality of our player development programs. If you look at the Champions League roster, the number one nationality represented is French and it is the same case with the Ballon d’Or . That is something we will emphasize on, and collaborate with the Football Association of Singapore in the future.
It really seems like Les Parisiens are looking to be more than just a football club, and venture into uncharted territories of establishing themselves as a lifestyle brand here in Asia.
Beyoncé recently published a photo wearing an exclusive one-off creation from the collaboration between Paris Saint-Germain and KOCHÉ. If PSG starts their own high end fashion label!
PSG kick off against Arsenal at ICC 2018 in Singapore on 28 July 2018 at 7:30PM (SGT – UTC +8).