The Groupama Stadium in Lyon, often better known as Parc OL, can welcome close to 60,000 people. It’s the home of reknown club Olympique Lyonnais – but it is more than that these days. For the club have not only sold the naming rights to the insurance group Groupama for a reported five to seven million Euro per season, but have also opened the stadium for various events in order to augment their revenue. That seems to have worked well already, as record numbers show, yet, a plan’s in place to host an annual music festival at the venue from 2020 on.
A way to explore revenue streams ‘off the pitch’
Football clubs have become some kind of brands that you can get across anywhere. Whether it’s the odd merch, like world travel adaptors with club branding from FC Everton or even lingerie, or the players appearing as ambassadors for a movie from their movie partner.
Branding is an essential element for any football club, because they have to gain revenue, growing revenue, in order to be able to still compete with all the competitors in the league – unless they do have a billionaire owner. But even then the brand is at the centre of attention for those owners. Traditionalits will say a club needs to focus on the sporting integrity and that is more important than ever. Yet, it’s illusionary to regard those clubs as mere sports clubs. They are companies, huge companies, and will strive for growth in every aspect.
That’s an explanation for the newest development at Olympique Lyon and their Groupama Stadium. According to several sources from France and SportsPro Media, the club have now teamed up with Olympia Production to create a distinct company called OL Productions. This very company will be in charge of a music festival, which for the first time shall take place in an around the Groupama in June 2020. The festival shall develop into an annual highlight for music fans. Whilst the ownership is shared between the aforementioned companies, they will choose board members and a a chairman in the near future, before working on the line-up for next year’s inaugural festival. At the moment, there’s no name for the festival, which might follow later this year, when the line-up is announced; and when the tickets go on sale.
Music promises income – Olympique Lyon add it to the stadium experience repertoire
Since clubs are looking for revenue streams apart from the everyday business of their teams, concerts at their stadiums are a proven feature to gain income. Especially in the off-season, during the summer. The Rolling Stones, for instance, were at Old Trafford last summer and thereby granted Manchester United a welcome plus.
And Olympique Lyon have opened their Groupama Stadium for several concerts as well. Phil Collins has been there for his only concert in France this year. Apart from that, the arena is well-used these days. Right now it’s getting ready to host both semi-finals and the final of the ongoing Women’s World Cup.
And the club do monetise the stadium in other ways, too. Of course, they offer stadium tours from nine Euro upwards.
That’s one part of their immersive experience. But they also offer entrance to the Offside Gallery, art implemented in the stadium. This permanent exhibition from various French artists will lure some art enthusiasts who will have to pay for the experience as well.
Furhtermore, the club give fans or adventurists the opportunity to prove their nous in an escape game right inside the stadium. OL Escape will cost 25 Euro per person at the least.
All these offers will help the club gain additional money. But the festival, which is planned under the guidance of the new company OL Porductions will get them a lot more income during June next year. And who knows, OL Productions might even be used in order to create further branded revenue drivers, more experiences connected to the Olympique Lyon brand or maybe even original series or what have you.
OL have, actually, had record revenue numbers of 228.3 million Euro for the first nine months of the 2018/19 financial year. Especially ticketing and media revenue had hit new heights. But the club are looking for the 400 million barrier as they want to be able to compete with super rich PSG or rivals from England or Spain. In the Ligue 1, Lyon finished third last season and will be in the Champions League qualifiers that will determine how much money they can earn from European competitions next season. Ol were 19 points behind PSG. Yet, their plan for a festival and their OL Productions venture are signs that they strive to become an even bigger brand, known across the globe and earning money from diverse possible streams, be that art, music or football. Thankfully you cannot hide the core business here.