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Paris Saint-Germain have become one of the top forces in European football in recent years. Since their inception in 1970, the club have gone from relatively humble beginnings to a global superpower, home to some of the world’s biggest stars.
However, even with the funding of the Qatari state, they have reached these heights with a comparatively small stadium. The Parc des Princes’s 48,000 capacity is less than the likes of 1. FC Kaiserslautern, Athletic Bilbao and even Ligue 1 rivals Lille OSC.
It's therefore no surprise to hear news of an “ambitious” new PSG stadium renovation at the Parc des Princes, with the club having opened talks with various architectural firms.
- 1 New PSG stadium renovation: The details
- 2 How would the proposed PSG stadium renovation compare to others?
- 3 Unique difficulties at the Parc des Princes
- 4 How much would it cost for PSG to buy the Parc des Princes?
- 5 What are the alternatives to a PSG stadium renovation?
- 6 Parc des Princes timeline
- 7 New PSG stadium renovation FAQs
New PSG stadium renovation: The details
With plans yet to be formally announced, there are few details about what a ‘new PSG stadium' – or, in reality, a renovated Parc des Princes – would look like after renovation.
What we do know is that PSG would look to increase the capacity by 25% to 60,000. The club, apparently inspired by Real Madrid’s recent renovation of the Santiago Bernabéu, would also like to install a retractable roof and pitch.
Among the architects that PSG have approached is Pierre Ferret, who conceived the National Football Centre in Clairefontaine – the former base camp for France’s national side and also home of the esteemed academy which has produced the likes of Thierry Henry and Kylian Mbappé.
How would the proposed PSG stadium renovation compare to others?
The Parc des Princes’ increased capacity would make it the third largest stadium in France, behind the Stade de France and Stade Vélodrome, home of the French national team and Olympique de Marseille respectively.
The proposals for a retractable pitch would place the Parc des Princes alongside the Santiago Bernabéu and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as one of only a handful of stadiums capable of wheeling back the turf to reveal a new surface underneath. Tottenham, for example, regularly host NFL games on an entirely separate pitch hidden beneath the one we see for football matches.
Unique difficulties at the Parc des Princes
Unlike most other European giants, PSG do not own their stadium. Instead, the Parc des Princes is owned by the Council of Paris.
This poses a serious problem for the renovation plans. Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), which owns PSG, have said they will not to commit to upgrading the stadium until they own it. This means that a deal with the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, must be struck.
Dealings with Hidalgo over the stadium have been very tricky in the past, with the mayor telling Le Parisien in January of this year that “We have a very clear position. The Parc des Princes is not for sale, and it will not be sold. This is a firm and definitive position. It is an exceptional heritage for Parisians.”
Relations with the club have since become strained, with a PSG spokesperson responding: “It is surprising and disappointing to hear that the mayor of Paris is taking a position which, effectively, will force PSG, our fans and communities away from the Parc des Princes; while also – quite remarkably – adding tens of millions of Euros to the taxpayer burden to maintain the structure of the building, which is now 50 years old and in need of renovation.”
How much would it cost for PSG to buy the Parc des Princes?
Despite Hidalgo’s claims that the stadium was not for sale, in April PSG submitted a bid of €38 million for the stadium.
Hidalgo called this bid “ridiculous”, even reminding QSI that business in France is done to differently to what they might be used to in Qatar.
“It may be a bluff or a misunderstanding about what our democratic rules are. We are in a country where the rule of law works, so there are procedures,” she said.
For comparison, the French government estimated the value of the Stade de France at €647 million in 2021.
What are the alternatives to a PSG stadium renovation?
Due to these difficulties in purchasing the Parc des Princes, France24 reported in March that PSG have explored submitting a bid for the Stade de France, the 80,000-seater home of the French national team.
The lease for the stadium is held by a consortium of French companies, but expires in July 2025. The quoted price for a sale is around €600 million. If PSG wanted to submit a bid, they would have to do so by 3 January next year.
The club have also looked into building an entirely new stadium in Poissy, a small town in Paris’ suburbs where the club is already building a new training ground.
Parc des Princes timeline
1897: The first Parc des Princes opens with a capacity of around 10,000.
1932: The Parc des Princes is rebuilt with a capacity of 45,000. The capacity is reduced to 38,000 to allow fans more space.
1972: The third Parc des Princes, the one we know today, is completed. It quickly gains a reputation in France as a “caisse de résonnance” or “box of sound” for its intense atmosphere and proximity of the supporters to the pitch. France play the USSR in the inaugural match at the new ground.
1973: PSG play their first game at the Parc des Princes, beating Red Star F.C. 3-1.
1974: Following PSG’s promotion to Ligue 1 and Paris F.C.’s demotion to the second tier, PSG move into the Parc des Princes full time.
1984: France beat Spain at the Parc des Princes in the final of EURO 1984.
1998: The Stade de France is completed, and replaces the Parc des Princes as the home of Les Bleus.
2013: PSG agree a deal with the Paris City Council to extend their lease of the stadium until 2043.
2016: A three-year, €75 million upgrade of the Parc des Princes is completed ahead of EURO 2016.
New PSG stadium renovation FAQs
What is the PSG stadium capacity?
The Parc des Princes currently holds 48,000 supporters.
What would the new PSG stadium capacity be?
A renovated Parc des Princes would be able to host 60,000, a 25% increase on its current size.
Who will be the architects on PSG stadium renovation?
PSG have reportedly approached Pierre Ferret, who designed France's groundbreaking Clairefontaine centre where a young Thierry Henry and Kylian Mbappé trained.