PSG opens Shanghai park to expand China reach

Paris Saint-Germain opened a PSG Park – the French Ligue 1 club's first fan experience zone in China – in Shanghai yesterday.
Ma yue / SHINE

Maxwell interacts with local fans at PSG Park in Shanghai.

PARIS Saint-Germain opened a PSG Park — the French Ligue 1 club’s first fan experience zone in China — in Shanghai yesterday.

Located at Xuhui District’s Nanyang 1931 Shopping Center, the park is equipped with all-glass indoor football fields with FIFA certified artificial lawn, as well as roof-top pitches. Fans can purchase the club’s peripheral produces and spend their leisure time in a club-themed restaurant-bar where PSG game highlights are shown on big screens.

Former PSG left-back Maxwell took some local fans on a tour around the park yesterday at the opening ceremony.

“We chose Shanghai as the first Chinese city to set up the park because it’s the ‘most European city’ in China,” said Fabien Allegre, PSG’s merchandising and Brand diversification director. “We will wait for fan feedback and decide whether to build more parks in other Chinese cities.”

The 2017-2018 French league champion boasts 55 millions fans worldwide. According to Sebastien Wasel, the club’s Asia Pacific managing director, one-third of the fans are from Asia, with about 1.5 million in China. “We have been expanding PSG’s influence among Chinese fans since 2011 and it has already become the best followed French club in China.”

According to Wasel, PSG’s next China visit will be on August 4 when it will take part in the French Super Cup match in Shenzhen, southern Guangdong Province. Before that, it will play two matches of the 2018 International Champions Cup tournament in Singapore in July.

Apart from the PSG Park, the club is taking a series of measures to explore the Asian and Chinese markets and is looking for multi-domain cooperation.

The Qatar-owned club recently opened an Asia Pacific office in Singapore, and activated football projects in China.

“We are planning a grassroots football project in Shandong Province,” Allegre revealed. “Training courses will be organized for amateur young players in Shandong. There will also be a five-year elite project to produce professional players. Perhaps we will be able to find China’s Neymar through the project.”

Brazil and PSG star Neymar — the world’s most expensive footballer — is now recovering from a foot operation

PSG has also sponsored a Chinese esports team to take part in Dota 2 competitions so as to expand its influence among the younger generation.

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