Skift Take

This might be one the first times ever that a country DMO (destination marketing organization) is spending so much money to sponsor a sports team, all in the name of promoting tourism.

By the dint of its money, Qatar will be a tourism destination, even if there isn’t tons of natural things to see in the tiny desert emirate. It has built up the country at a ferocious pace over the last decade, with buildings, museums, art collections, cultural centers, resorts, stadiums and other things natural-gas money can buy, and is now going to spend millions to promote them.

As part of that quest, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), the main tourism marketing organization in the country, has now tied up with one of the richest football teams in the world, Paris-based Paris Saint-Germain, to promote the country in a big way to European audiences.

It helps that Qatar Sports Investments, part of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, bought out the club in full last year. And since all things in Qatar go back to the royal family that rules it, QTA is taking advantage of that lineage here.

No financial details of the deal were disclosed, but rest assured, it definitely isn’t cheap. Late last yearmedia reports said that QTA will pay PSG as much as $800 million over four seasons, retroactively starting in 2012. The reports then said that this was not a sponsorship agreement but a “vast publicity campaign intended to promote the image of Qatar,” which fits in with the now-official details of this agreement. The agreement does not involve shirt sponsorship — which Emirates sponsors –contract or naming rights partnership, but mostly for promotion.

QTA will use the amplifying power for football and sports to promote the country at the PSG games, and as it says it will make “coherent investments, which includes sports as a major component….Being associated with one of the best clubs in Europe and indirectly with Paris as a destination is an ideal opportunity for QTA to promote Qatar.”

Besides the men’s football team — and worldwide stars such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani or Thiago Silva  — QTA will also work with PSG’s women’s team, runners-up of the French Division 1 in 2011 and 2013, and PSG Handball team, French champions last season, in the hopes of promoting the Handball World Championship, which will be held in Qatar in 2015.

As for what the actual promotion means: From November this year, several full size outdoor billboards, located in key spots around Paris, will highlight PSG players in front of Qatar landmarks, and expect the team to pitch Qatar at every platform possible.

This “media kit” below, lavishly produced, show the extent of investment QTA is making, at least from doing a media splash about this tie-up.


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Tags: marketing, paris, qatar, sports

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