Chinese are mad about soccer. According to Nielsen, 31% of urban Chinese residents say they’re interested in soccer, and that number is growing steadily. China announced its plan to become a world soccer superpower. The development of a soccer culture will foster other social phenomena, and 5-a-side is certainly one of those.
Under these assumptions, 2 french graduates from Paris famous business schools Hec and Essec, decided to launch a start-up business called 5 Factory and immediately attracted the interest of French entrepreneurs who invest heavily in China and more importantly convinced PSG football club. PSG’s merchandising and brand diversification director, Fabien Allegre, declared Shanghai the “most European city” as the reason for its choice as the location of the Park.
“We chose Shanghai as the first Chinese city to set up the park because it is the ‘most European city’ in China,” he said. “We will wait for fan feedback and decide whether to build more parks elsewhere in China.
WSBSPORT was invited to have a seat in the Strategic Board of the newly born company together with Philippe Collin-Delavaud (former CEO of the Sports Hub Singapour), Jerome de Chaunac (CEO of Havas Sports & Entertainment) and Guido Tommasi (CEO of the Futbolclub). The project was clear: potentially creating the world’s finest 5-a-side facility.
WSBSPORT signed an agreement for the provision of soccer pitches for the first and subsequent facilities of the future 5 Factory network. It’s not granted that an Italian product opens its commercial path through China and not the reverse!
What we did
The first choice was to use a “lean” approach: credibility is key, and a small-sized pilot club, if profitable, will attract investors for future investments.
The lean approach was also adopted for the choice of the location: we discarded the option to rent or buy land and build a dedicated facility, instead, we chose to rent a medium-sized space in a commercial mall in Shanghai. This allowed for access to the mainstream public and for the possibility of new profit centres, like sports shops and restaurants. For the shopping mall, 5 Factory is a differentiated leisure opportunity.
Our know-how as operators of shop concepts gave the clients the information to better negotiate the terms of participation of big brands like Nike in the project. This led to the opening of a state-of-the-art sports shop inside the 5-a-side club.
WSBSPORT has partnered with the client’s architectural firm in the preparation of the layout of the facility that finally opened in April 2018 under the name PSG PARK. The stunning decoration impressed the public during the great opening, where PSG was represented by Maxwell, the Brazilian player.
Due to the limited available space, we designed smaller pitches surrounded by tempered glass walls. A larger field is on the terrace adjacent to the indoor sports zone. Field sizes are 8×16, with 2m and 80m high walls (much smaller than our standard products, which are usually at least 4m).
The fields have been customized in the image of the Paris Saint-Germain football team, branding the entire structure as well as its details.
Construction-wise, to comply with Chinese regulations, most of the materials have been supplied by local companies giving us the opportunity to develop contacts for the benefit of the client.