Nasser Al-Khelaifi, president of Paris Saint-Germain, believes the Champions League final should be a bigger spectacle than the Super Bowl and must evolve to attract a larger audience.
Even though the 2021 Champions League final got 700 million viewers, and the 2023 Super Bowl only had 112 million, he told The Athletic that he “couldn’t see how the Super Bowl can feel greater than the Champions League final.”
The 48-year-old Qatari billionaire has been debating proposals for clubs to seek “new commercial prospects” ahead of last week’s European Club Association (ECA) General Assembly.
“The Super Bowl and the U.S. generally have this mindset, creativity, and entertainment. That’s what I have suggested, to have an opening ceremony to the Champions League, to have one match on the opening night where the winners take on a big tea–maybe it is not a good idea, but at least let’s challenge the status quo. Each match needs to be an event and entertainment.”
The Champions League final usually draws between 380 million and 400 million fans outside of the stadium.
Before becoming chair of the ECA, Al-Khelaifi was opposed to the proposed breakaway European Super League and became a spokesperson who rejected the proposal last year.
In 2024, the Champions League will grow from 32 teams to 36, and media and commercial rights will be shared with the ECA. According to Al-Khelaifi, the shift is expected to increase the men’s game’s commercial value by 39%.
However, he said, “We still need to jointly discover further untapped revenue sources,” and emphasized the desire to explore new digital platforms.
“But, of course, one of the things we’re looking for is digital innovation,” he added. “We’re also discussing event formats and experiences with UEFA. Consider the Champions League: it is without a doubt the best club competition in the world, but how can we make each match a spectacle? My recommendation is that the new joint venture between UEFA and ECA include a creative and entertainment department.”
The time difference between the United States and Asia is a problem to make the group stages more interesting. To work on this in the interest of international human rights, the group is considering various options, including new venues, markets, and formats.
Al-Khelaifi is the president and CEO of Paris Saint-Germain, a French football club. He is also a member of the FIFA Club World Cup organizing committee and has been chosen as chairman of the European Club Association (ECA).
After adopting a tough stance against controversial ideas for a European Super League, Al-Khelaifi, who is now the chair of the European Clubs’ Association, has become one of the continent’s most prominent executives in the last year.
When Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus proposed breaking away and forming an exclusive division with Europe’s biggest clubs, the PSG president turned down the invitation, enhancing his reputation.
Nonetheless, some opponents claim that Al-Khelaifi is simply opposed to a European Super League because his TV network, beIN Sport, is obligated to UEFA for billions of pounds in broadcasting contracts.