The security failures of the Champions League final hamper France’s image in the field of sports business

Managing the international crowds that flock in the tens of thousands to the stadiums where world events such as the Champions League are staged is a major issue in the sports business. These events are watched by hundreds of millions of viewers, which justifies the amount of broadcast rights, which, along with sponsorships, have become the main sources of income for the organizers. If the party is destroyed, the image of the host country is corrupted.

It’s hard to reconnect with managing the enthusiastic crowd of fans after months of empty stadiums where scanning QR codes from the pollen aisle was sesame! On Saturday evening, France learned on its account of the disastrous management of football fans who came in large numbers to attend the Champions League. Whether they came from Spain to support eventual winners Real Madrid or from the UK to support losers Liverpool, they have shared the consequences of the great chaos, which British journalist Matt Pearson described so well on Twitter.

Even if several investigations were conducted and the government organized a summit meeting at the Sports Ministry on Monday morning, the damage was done. One year after the Rugby World Cup and two years from the Olympics, France seems to be having a hard time welcoming throngs of fans from all over the world. Even worse, when she overwhelmed her, she blamed them as Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin explained that 40,000 British supporters were the cause of all the problems.

Many failures

The count in transportation (+40% in attendance), the strike in RER B that prompted many supporters to choose another line and thus end up at another entrance following a poorly signposted route, all were signal alerts that the police had to take notice. Electronic monitoring on social networks also makes it possible to detect a large amount of counterfeit banknotes and provide a reception system that adapts to the contrast of frayed banknotes. The staff should be plentiful, sufficiently trained and not only speak French. The British journalist, for example, was initially denied entry because his private ticket was forged despite being suitable for press card holders.

To be a sponsor of the UEFA Champions League, a sporting event that rivals the FIFA World Cup, every major company pays up to €120 million annually, giving them global visibility. On Saturday, France, where the final was staged due to Russia being banned from major sporting events since it entered the war, lost in a big way. It has shown the world that two years of running Covid have weakened its ability to manage full stadiums and the flow of people. As much as she has already won the Rugby World Cup and Olympics, she is not in danger of losing it. On the other hand, this great panic raises questions about the future of these mass demonstrations. After China’s 2022 Olympics in empty facilities, the World Cup in Qatar should limit audience access between calls for human rights boycotts, exorbitant rates for venues and ultra-low hotel capacities.

Change in sports business

All this contributes to registering a shift in the sports business as broadcasting rights become the cornerstone of its economy. It came in well before stadium revenue, which has been largely hit by the pandemic. Thus matches become an attractive platform for selling subscriptions to platforms. Amazon understands that. It was she who bought the broadcast rights to the Roland Garros tennis tournament, and acquired the rights to Ligue 1, in 2021, for €259 million annually.

A very good way to attract supporters for e-commerce as explained to Ouest France Nikos Smyrnaios, teacher and researcher specializing in Gafam. “Whether you’re watching football, tennis, or a series on Prime, Amazon doesn’t care, unlike Netflix.he explains. Its goal is still and always to attract customers and then keep them in its business location, where personal data is the most strategic: the type of razors, books or clothes purchased … This data makes the business efficiency of the group and its algorithms. Broadcasting sporting events is just a loss leader.

Will stadiums one day be football, as cinemas are about to become cinemas, often empty galleries? The sad scene of the Champions League final contributes to that anyway.

Ann Kathryn Howson Traore, CEO of Novethic, AC_HT_

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