The Champions Trophy, which traditionally opposes the French champion and the winner of the Coupe de France, will compete for the third time in China between Paris Saint-Germain and Rennes on Saturday, August 3 at 11:30 UT in Shenzhen. Anticipating the appointment, the Parisian club finished its preseason with a 10-day stay in southern China. Deployment of strength for a sports camp but also, and perhaps especially, commercial.
From our special correspondent in Shenzhen,
The season rises in the East and under tropical rains for Paris Saint-Germain, which is finishing its preparation in the south of China. One hundred and twenty people from the club are in Shenzhen: a large part of the technical and medical staff to supervise the players, but also about forty employees in charge of communication and marketing.
The players must comply with some advertising events, for example the launch of the n ° 2 jersey of the equipment manufacturer, a beautiful red, color very popular in Asia. With models Kylian Mbappé and Marco Verratti. There were people at the presentation of this jersey; Enthusiastic Chinese fans who patiently watch the players at the foot of their luxury hotel, a 71-story tower. " I think our club is really a great club. My favorite players are Kylian Mbappe and Marco Verrati. I saw some players, but no photos, I'm not too lucky, "regrets a Chinese supporter in French.
" Neymar who changed everything "
These fans of the club and its stars, are at least 2000 among 1 billion and a half of Chinese ... But the club sees grow its number of Chinese fans, thanks to its stars. Even if it is not easy to follow the PSG 10,000 kilometers from here. But apparently when you're a fan, you do not count. Social networks have their role: The French-Chinese Robert Li orchestrates the fan club of China, one of the 16 fans club in Asia.
" We are mostly organized on wechat (the largest Chinese social network). We watch the matches at 4am, reveals Li . We try to meet to watch the matches in prime time. PSG is very new in China and it does not have the same number of fans as English clubs like Manchester United. We have pure fans, but they are very scattered all over China. We were 400-500 people last year, this year, we are over 2000. It's extraordinary and Neymar has changed everything. Since his arrival, Paris is recognized in China .
Football lessons in schools
The club has opened a regional office in Singapore, while the professional football league that organizes Ligue 1, has its representative in Shanghai. But the competition between big European clubs is tough! The Juventus of Turin, in training these days further north, attracts many more Chinese. Cristiano Ronaldo in his ranks, the match was won in advance.
PSG serves as a bridgehead to the league to sell the rights of retransmission abroad. Léon is the Chinese PPSport journalist covering the L1 in Beijing: " We have two major media that broadcast the league because now there are many great French clubs. PSG has a lot of big stars like Neymar, Mbappe and Ligue 1 is a lot followed. Football has become more and more popular in China. In the schools, every week now, there are football lessons . "
Last year the Trophy played between PSG and Monaco attracted 3 million Chinese spectators.