Five Reasons Why Ligue 1 Will Be as Strong as the Premier League in 10 Years
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In the world of domestic football, the Premier League is the one all others are compared too. With the global appeal of teams like Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City the Premier League is the king as far as number of followers. The strength of the league top to bottom out distances it as a whole from Spain's La Liga, and is only rivaled by the depth of the Italian Serie A.
Comparing the strength of Ligue 1 in France to the Premier League is currently a one-sided discussion, but the following are the reasons that 10 years from now, Ligue 1 can be at the same level as their English counterparts.
The Paris Saint-Germain Effect
Paris Saint-Germain's financial backing will force the rest of Ligue 1 to step up.
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Ever since the Qatari investment group landed in Paris, they have set out on a mission to be the kings of Europe no matter the cost. With a budget that rivals Manchester City and Chelsea, PSG has already attracted many top level players.
With a star studded squad set to take Europe by storm at PSG, the rest of Ligue 1 has to raise the talent level of their clubs if they want to even compete for their domestic title. Montpellier may have pipped PSG to the title in the first season of the new regime, but that will be an exception, not the rule, if other clubs do not splash some cash.
With Monaco having received similar financial backing, it is just a matter of time until they return to Ligue 1. Once they do, there will be two clubs with unlimited budgets forcing the hands of the other clubs to raise the bar.
Laurent Blanc's “Domestic Preference”
Since taking over as the French national team coach, Blanc has stated his preference for players to remain in Ligue 1. With playing for country in the World Cup and Euros being a pinnacle for most players, expect many of the mid level stars to take opportunities in France over moves to other leagues. This preference has already played a part in the decisions of Kevin Gameiro (last summer) and Marvin Martin to remain in Ligue 1 rather than go abroad.
If the trend of more French talent staying in Ligue 1 continues, the depth of the league becomes stronger. It also dilutes some of the talent level where the French have landed in the past, including the Premier League.
League Strength Runs in Cycles
This years champ can quickly turn into next years chump
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No league can stay at the top of the food chain forever. Looking back on the last 50 years of play, one can see the peaks and valleys for each league. The Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga, and the Premier League have all had their time at the top, and their time when they were further down the pecking order.
Coaches and players move on or retire, club ownership changes hands, and match fixing or other scandals are uncovered. All of this affects the clubs and the overall strength of a league. The Premier League has maintained their position at the top for a long time, but with coaches like Sir Alex Ferguson, and Arsene Wenger coming to the end of their brilliant careers, there will be voids to be filled at two of England’s power clubs.
Ligue 1’s Increased Revenues
Middle East investments and television monies will help Ligue 1 close the gap
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One of the keys to the Premier Leagues success has been revenue from television contracts and the global following of its top teams. The shared revenues among the clubs allow for higher wages attracting better talent.
Ligue 1 is not in position to match the revenue stream at this time, but they are closing the gap. After QIA bought control of PSG, Al Jazeera purchased Ligue 1 television rights for the 2012 – 2016 seasons. With Al Jazeera airing games through their beIN Sport channel, along with longtime provider Canal+, Ligue 1 will find its way in front of more soccer fans around the world.
Adding to this exposure is PSG’s summer matches against Chelsea FC and Juventus in New York and Montreal. Ligue 1 has also scheduled the Trophee des Champions between Lyon and Montpellier to kick off the season in New York as well.
This increased exposure leads to an increased fan base. A larger fan base increases revenue through jersey and other licensed product sales. Add the increased fan revenue to the additional €500 million in television rights from Al Jazeera over the next four seasons, and Ligue 1 clubs will have the money to try to compete with other leagues.
Location, Location, Location
In a player's transfer decision, if the money, and strength of the club are pretty much equal, the determining factor typically comes down to location. Comparing the locales in England to France, and the more pleasing surroundings are definitely in France’s favor. Paris is a much more desirable location than London or Manchester. The proximity of the French Riviera to clubs like Monaco (when they return to Ligue 1), Montpellier, and Nice, or the splendor of the French wine country gives Ligue 1 an advantage over the Premier League.