As Ligue 1 hunts a new media rights deal in the US, it has revealed a bold strategy to entice potential broadcasters. While teams are no strangers to friendlies in the United States, the French top flight may take it a step further. There is legitimate reason to believe Ligue 1 will bring a meaningful contest to the United States.

John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal spoke to Ben Morel, the CEO of LFP Media. LFP Media is the company that controls all commercial activities for the French league. Morel says putting a meaningful game in the United States is what American fans care about.

“I’ve had a lot of history in my previous jobs of doing a lot of international games, and I know that what is important is the meaningfulness of them,” Morel said. “They can’t just be exhibition games. They have to be games that matter. We want to do this as a long-term play, not just as one-off, nice little exhibitions.”

With the Ligue 1 rights deal with beIN SPORTS concluding at the end of the 2023/24 season, the French league is hunting for a lucrative deal. Also, Ligue 1 is looking to have more of an international presence. Morel said building on the social power and general popularity of its players can help it compete against other leagues.

“Our social diversity and multiculturalism defines French football and makes it very genuine and authentic, not a marketing stunt,” Morel said. “We might not be the biggest league, but we want to be the coolest and the most enshrined in today’s youth culture.”

Ligue 1 US game is not confirmed, but it is a possibility

While Morel did not mention what game would feature on US soil, there are several context clues for what a meaningful game may be. For one, it is highly unlikely Ligue 1 would put a league game in the United States. With each team having a home and away game against the other 19 teams in the competition, one team would have a clear advantage.

Also, given Morel’s comments that Ligue 1 wants to use the superstars of the league, Ligue 1 would want to place its elite teams in a game on US soil. Therefore, clubs like PSG, Lyon, Marseille, and Monaco would be potential clubs to play because they can use the stars for promotion.

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“They need to be part of our promotion actively and not just in passing,” Morel said. “We want to basically showcase them in a very different way, giving new access and getting all the fans around the world to know their stories.”

Consequently, a competition like the Trophee des Champions, or the French Supercup, would be ideal. On top of that, the French Supercup has been played outside of France in 13 out of the last 14 editions. That included a stop at Red Bull Arena just outside of New York City in 2012. The only issue back then was the game was between Montpellier and Lyon. A 21-year-old Alexandre Lacazette was among the most notable players. By comparison, PSG and its cast of stars have played in each Trophee des Champions since then.

Bringing a player like Kylian Mbappe to the United States would develop more American fans. That is what Ligue 1 hopes for with its media rights deal: the opportunity to show Kylian Mbappe in a new light to American fans in a competitive environment.