If you follow Paris Saint-Germain on social media you probably have heard a lot about the Paris Loves US campaign. As the club embarks on their second preseason tour of the summer, it’s clear that unlike Austria, this trip to the U.S. is as much about business as it is about soccer.
Les Parisiens will call New Jersey home for the next 18 days as they set up camp and prepare to take on some of Europe’s elite in the International Champions Cup before traveling to Montreal for the Trophée des Champions against Olympique Lyonnais on August 1.
The last time PSG traveled to the United States for a preseason tournament was the 2012-13 season, around the same time Qatar Sports Investments took full control of the club, and there is no doubt QSI want to expand the Paris Saint-Germain brand into America.
For the top clubs in Europe, it’s not enough to dominate your city or even country anymore. To be considered a big club you have to have global recognition and the American market, along with Asia, is highly coveted. Last summer, Manchester United spent two weeks playing across the United States and made a profit of approximately £8 million for their trouble not to mention the exposure to thousands of impressionable Americans who will buy a jersey every year.
So how popular is Paris Saint-Germain in the United States currently? According to their social media accounts, there’s still room to grow.
PSG have approximately 20 million followers on Facebook, 300,000 of which are Americans. If you compare that to clubs like Real Madrid (80 million followers), Manchester United (65 million), and Chelsea (42 million), you start to understand why the Paris Loves US social media marketing blitz is so important.
In addition to the preseason tour, PSG operate soccer academies in New York and Miami, work with American sponsors such as McDonalds and American Express, launched an official North American store (free shipping right now for orders over $50, btw), and they created an English Twitter account, which currently boasts 35,000 followers. They’re doing all the right things to be the next big thing in America.
— PSG English (@PSG_English) July 15, 2015
Soccer in the United States is growing at an unbelievable pace right now (more than 20 million people watched USWNT defeat Japan in the World Cup Final). It’s PSG’s job to attract those new American soccer fans with preseason tours, quality players, and of course, trophies. It will be difficult to battle the Premier League clubs for new American fans due to the current television rights situation (every English Premier League match is available through NBC Sports while only a select few Ligue 1 matches are shown on the premium channel beIN Sports) but Paris have positioned themselves to do very well in the U.S. market in my opinion.
And even if they never catch on here in the states, we’ll always have this: