Roadmap for Ligue 1 to Follow to Become Europe's Top League
Ligue 1 has spent years looking up to the leagues around it. Long considered a secondary league, Ligue 1 is hoping for a renaissance of sorts to lift it to the status the EPL and La Liga currently enjoy.
This will be much easier said than done, but the following is the road map for Ligue 1 to grow strong enough to lay claim as Europe’s top league.
Lower Tax Rate
There has been much discussion over the varying proposals French President Francois Hollande has made for tax rates. The initial proposal of a 75% tax rate on individuals making more than a million euros per year was shot down by the constitutional court in December (per report from Bloomberg.com). But there have been subsequent proposals that, if implemented, would put a financial squeeze on French clubs.
Even if the proposed tax changes that would raise the rate on player salaries or club earnings do not go through, Ligue 1 still needs an exemption of some kind to reduce the tax rate. France’s current top tax rate is 49% for those who make more than 500,000 euros a year. This tax rate makes France a less desirable destination for players.
Ligue 1 needs to find a way to get the government to give them some relief in this regard.
Revenue Generation and Sharing
Revenue generation and sharing is key for every professional sports league around the world. Without the revenue stream from television and sponsorships, the smaller teams have a difficult time staying afloat, let alone relevant.
The financial backing PSG has received from their Qatari ownership has opened up Ligue 1 to new investment opportunities. The addition of BeIn Sports as a television provider has gotten Ligue 1 games in front of a new audience.
The continued success of PSG should continue to open the window of opportunity for revenue. Whether people tune in to see PSG win, lose or are just curious, new fans can be gained from this. More fans increase jersey sales, internet subscriptions and other revenue generating items.
Keeping and Attracting Talent
Ligue 1 has long been a fertile field of young talent. Every transfer season sees many highly touted French and African youth leave Ligue 1 for a “bigger” challenge.
Lower tax rates and increased revenues will allow more money to be spent on keeping this talent. It is not hard to imagine how much stronger Ligue 1 teams would be if they were able to retain the likes of Benzema, Varane and Lloris type talents.
More money for players will also beckon more top level players to come to France from other countries. France has several appealing places to reside, and if the money is the same, more favorable destinations can swing a few more players to consider Ligue 1.
Success in Europe
PSG shined a brighter light on Ligue 1 with their deep run in the Champions League. For Ligue 1 to truly move into the upper echelon of leagues, it has to perform well in continental competitions.
This cannot be left to PSG alone as many will view the main cause to be financial. This will hold true if Monaco begins an assault on Europe with their wealth. Teams like Lyon, Marseille and Lille have to make noise in the Champions League and the Europa competition.
The keeping and attracting talent will aid this endeavor. These competitions expose any weak area or player a squad may have. More talented rosters help to reduce the effect of any weakness.
Having multiple teams who can challenge in these competitions will also help raise the league’s image in the eyes of fans.
Success in Europe leads to increased exposure for the squads involved. One of the reasons England and Spain can legitimately lay claim to being the best leagues is the number of followers each league has.
With more success in Europe along with better television deals, Ligue 1 can gain the exposure needed to bring it to the front of fans’ minds.
PSG’s investments have brought more exposure to Ligue 1. If Monaco can make a big splash in this summer’s market, they can increase this effect. All it will take is a few teams outside of PSG to perpetuate this effect.
The more recognizable players competing in Ligue 1, the more interest generated.
The rest of Ligue 1 cannot sit back and rely on PSG and potentially Monaco to do all of this. Ligue 1 clubs must find ways to get themselves known among soccer fans.
This can be through player signings, preseason tours in the United States, or other means. The bottom line—Ligue 1 needs to step up its pursuit of a larger fan base.