Stade Rennes looking for growth / Ligue 1 / J19 / Rennes-PSG /

For five years, Stade Rennes progressed, consistently establishing themselves at the top of the league table and chaining the European qualifiers. Seeking growth at all levels, especially economic, Rennes executives are trying to activate levers to compensate for the differences in the balance sheet with some competitors.

It seems like a long time ago when Stade Rennes were the answer to the question “What is it that red and black go up and down? » It was another time, another century and the Breton club is today considered a stronghold of French football, having long blown hot and cold. Since 2017 the sporting health of Rouge et Noir has been excellent. Finally, there was the conquest of a title with the Coupe de France in 2019, and above all five consecutive qualifications for the European Cup (1 in the Champions League, 3 in the Europa League and 1 in the Europa Conference League). , best current run with PSG in Ligue 1. After a fourth-place finish last year, Rennes leaders Bruno Genesio repeated their desire to ” do better ” from this season, a barely disguised way of assuming the goal of the podium, which could be a little further this Sunday evening in the event of a defeat against Paris in a start to the year already marked by the serious injury of Martin Terrier. A sign that the new glass ceiling will be difficult for Bretons to break? “We need time. You have to keep this concept in mind: you can go up very fast and fall very fast.we explain to the club. We must continue on this path, we are in a positive dynamic. There is this desire to build and continue the development of the club. But the higher you want to climb, the higher the top step. »

“We have a budget of 110 million euros, where Lyon has 250. There is a global reflection on new recruits, to be European in a sustainable way. We have been visible in Europe for five years now, but obviously the Champions League is even more attractive. » Florian Maurice in The Team

Limits and levers

The subject occupies a primordial place in the offices of La Piverdière, with an eternal question in the background: how to go even higher? The answers are mainly economic, “a fundamental principle” in today’s football, where it is advisable to be pragmatic, even cynical, rather than romantic. “We know the competition is fierce. Lyon has been bought, Nice still seem to want to invest. We also have the means, the owner gives us, we try to be constant in hiring to move forward in this dimension, we think about continuing to grow, increasing the budgetsporting director Florian Maurice posed last month The group. There are clues about the sponsorship, the stadium, the naming… The strategy is more the responsibility of the president, but we have a budget of 110 million euros, while Lyon has 250. And there is a global reflection on new players, to be European in a sustainable way. We have been visible in Europe for five years now, but obviously the Champions League is even more attractive. »

Only, the limits are numerous, and some are difficult or even impossible to overcome. The first is demographic: the 2020 census (legal population effective January 2023) places the urban unit/conurbation of Rennes outside the top 10 in France, behind Nantes, Toulon, Rouen or Grenoble, and far behind Nice , Bordeaux, Toulouse or Lille . “There is a logic: in the big cities there are more economic means and therefore more money for the clubs” , we complete at the SRFC. Another is the capacity of Roazhon Park (29,778 spectators, 8And fence of the village), where more than 600,000 people arrived last season, a record for the Breton club, without being enough to rival several competitors in terms of revenue on matchdays. “Lyon can accommodate 60,000 spectators, double that. Beaujoire is also close to 40,000explains a member of Stade Rennes. We have to find other levers to continue to be even more competitive, not to mention that we can see new ambitions arriving with new investors. »

This search for economic growth should allow Rennes to see its budget increase, which for the current season is around 110 million euros. It is more or less that of Nice and Lille, two competitors in European places, but it is also less than half of those of Monaco, Marseille and Lyon (about 250 million euros). Like the vast majority of elite clubs, Stade Rennes has seen its net income suffer from the Covid-19 crisis, with a loss of €19.763m in the 2020-2021 financial year, according to the DNCG report released on last May. Ticket revenues are logically down due to closed doors and gauges (957,000 euros against 7.1 million euros in the previous season). Breton fans have recently railed against the prices to attend a match at Roazhon Park, while the price of tickets for the PSG reception this Sunday ranged from 29 to 170 euros, like last season.

Crowds back the SRFC’s contested strategy, even as top officials say they want to preserve the image of a popular, family-friendly club through initiatives such as season ticket holders. I’m not sure if these attentions or the broadcast of a dinner that brings together the former Rennais are enough to convince fans to pay more to pay the staggering salaries of their idols, who they can hardly see anywhere else than at the stadium since training behind closed doors have become the norm for Bruno Genesio’s group. “If we are to continue moving forward, there are things we will have to concedewe assume on the banks of the Vilaine. The naming of the stadium is a lever like any other to be able to increase the budget, have very good players and try to be even more competitive. » However, there is still no way to enter into a partnership so that Roazhon Park becomes a new Groupama Stadium or Orange Vélodrome, while the construction of a new enclosure or its expansion is not topical at all.

La Piverdière 2 for a better horizon

More concrete and validated by the city council, the Piverdière 2 project, which consists of an extension and renovation of the Stade Rennais life and training center in three phases (professionals, training center and administrative offices), is considered as “an important element for the club to continue its progress” . The works should begin in the coming months, between May and September, for delivery scheduled for the end of 2025. The historic headquarters of the Breton club will therefore have to be extended to 15 hectares (that is 3.6 hectares more) when the management wanted around twenty before confronting ecological issues and strong opposition. It was the time of the SRFC, very late in terms of infrastructure when we know that the Luchin area represents 45 hectares for LOSC or that clubs like Lorient, Montpellier or Reims are also ahead. Figures obviously light years away from the future PSG center, planned on 74 hectares. Rennes now hopes to modernize its buildings and especially its training centre, which has been at the heart of sporting strategy for many years. A project that could also allow the club to grow in the offices, where the lack of personnel is sometimes felt in some areas: the Rouge et Noir currently have about 250 employees, including professionals, against just over double the OL for comparison . Future premises must be accompanied by an evolution at this level to get closer to a European standard from which the Breton club still seems far away. The cost of the Piv 2 operation? At least 35 million euros, an investment entirely borne by the Stade Rennes and the Pinault family which therefore costs the taxpayer nothing.

“An extra seat in C1 would change a lot for the commercial and TV rights that are so lucrative. We support French clubs for the sake of our football, and the others are also supporters of Stade Rennes on the European stage. » A member of the SRFC

In the wake of French football

So much for the future prospects at the Stade Rennes, where the top management insists on the importance of looking beyond the current season finale, which may seem anachronistic at a time when the culture of immediate results prevails over all that remains of the world of football . This is why Rennes dreams of betting on the stability of men, the triumvirate made up of Olivier Cloarec, Florian Maurice and Bruno Genesio is working very well. In a delicate economic context and in a league where foreign investors are multiplying, the Pinault family, owner of the club since 1998, provides financial security to the SRFC and strengthens the local fiber. Growing requires work and time, even if Rennes has recently been able to rejoice to find itself in the second group, together with Lyon, Marseille, Lille, Monaco and Nice, for the distribution of the billion and a half euros brought by the CVC funds, a sign of progress of the club.

You will have to rely on yourself, but also on others, in this quest for growth. For Rennes, as for all the other French teams, the horizon of 2024 will be decisive for Ligue 1 with the new formula for the Champions League, a potential additional ticket for French clubs and the tender for future TV rights. For this, France must imperatively maintain its fifth position in the UEFA rankings (59,497 points currently against the Netherlands’ 56,700 and Portugal’s 53,716), while the SRFC is the third best point provider in the last five years (44,000) behind the Lyon (61,000) and PSG (112,000). “It would be a disaster for French football, because one more place in C1 would change many things for the commercial and television rights that bring so muchwe develop in red and black. We support French clubs for the good of our football and the others are also supporters of Stade Rennes on the European stage. » This Sunday, this medium- and long-term ambition will disappear for one evening, as always, in favor of the result of a match against PSG which, after all, will change nothing in Rennes’ ambitions. Then, it will be time to start dreaming big.

By Clement Gavard

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