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Pandemic leads to 95% drop-off in ticket sales for Ligue 1 clubs

French Ligue 1 football clubs lost €645m (£551m/$680m) during the 2020-21 season, the majority of which was played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new report from the Direction Nationale du Contrôle de Gestion (DNCG), which monitors French clubs’ financial affairs, has laid bare the impact the pandemic had on teams.

Paris Saint-Germain lost over €224m during the pandemic-hit season. Olympique Lyonnais posted the second-highest loss (€107m), with Olympique de Marseille (€76m), Bordeaux (€67m) and OGC Nice (€30m) rounding off the top five.

Only three clubs – Saint-Etienne, Dijon and Stade de Reims – posted a profit during the 2020-21 campaign. Dijon was relegated to Ligue 2 at the end of the season.

The 2020-21 Ligue 1 season started with a 5,000 capacity limit due to the ongoing risks posed by the pandemic at the time. This limit was later scrapped and all matches went behind closed doors from October as the COVID-19 situation worsened in France.

As a result, Ligue 1 clubs only generated €7.9m in ticket sales during the 2020-21 season – a 95% drop-off compared to the previous season when match receipts totalled €169m. The collective €645m loss posted by clubs in 2020-21 is also significantly higher than the €269m loss from the previous campaign, which did not resume after being suspended in March 2020 as COVID-19 hit.

PSG was the club that took the biggest hit in terms of ticket sales, with its match receipts dropping from €38m to €961,000. Elsewhere, Lyon’s match receipts dropped from €35.5m to €2m, Marseille’s fell from €15m to €236,000 and Lille’s dipped from €13.6m to €212,000.

Image: Tim L. Productions on Unsplash