French soccer giants Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) have ended their interest in purchasing France’s iconic Stade de France, with the club set to explore other options in its search to expand its home.
The club did not submit a bid for the stadium by the January 4 deadline, effectively ruling itself out of the running to become the owner.
Owned by the French government, the stadium had been managed since 1995 by a pair of construction firms Vinci and Bouyges, with their contract expiring in 2025 and the government now eyeing a full sale.
PSG had been one of several parties interested in the purchase of the 81,500 seater stadium, France’s largest, however, competition is fierce for the rights to the ground, with world soccer governing body FIFA also reportedly interested.
Vinci and Bouyges are still interested in renewing the current contract, while other stadium management companies in France are also thought to make up the bids that are still on the table.
The club’s higher-ups have also already expressed their desire to continue to play at its current home, rather than be forced into a relocation.
PSG currently plays at the 48,583 capacity Parc des Princes, as it has done since 1974, and the club consistently sells out the stadium for its games, exceeding $150 million in stadium revenue for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
Although this is a feat that few other clubs have ever matched, the capacity of the stadium creates a cap on the amount of gameday revenue PSG can draw, and the club’s upper management believes that a higher capacity, closer to 60,000 would allow it to capitalize financially on its recent on-pitch success.
At a media event, PSG chief revenue officer Marc Armstrong stressed “48,000 is not enough.”
He said: “Our clear preference is to redevelop the Parc des Princes, to stay where we are. It’s our historic home, it’s where we want to be, where the fans want to be. It's in the city limits of Paris.”
“But it's not dependent just on us. The city needs to be prepared to sell us the building. We have to own the building.”
PSG is currently the holder of a 30-year lease on the Parc Des Princes that runs until 2043, which it agreed with the stadium’s owner, the Paris City Council, however, Paris’ mayor, Anne Hidalgo, has gone on record to say she would not consider any full sale of the Parc des Princes to PSG, hampering any willingness from the club to invest further in the stadium’s infrastructure and capacity.
“We've been forced to look at other options and that's how we see it,” Armstrong admits. “We don't want to move. We want to stay at the Parc des Princes but we have to look and have been looking seriously at other options for the last year,” added Armstrong.
While the land around the club’s new Poissy training center is owned by PSG, constructing a new stadium would be time-consuming, and costly, and would again take the club away from the Parc des Princes.