CSL in Europe-Day 5: Yacht Club de Monaco & Olympique de Marseille
by Dani Ellis and Matt Kim, CSL graduate students
Our morning began brisk and overcast, like the morning before, as we said au Revoir to Nice. We made the 50 minute bus ride back to Monaco and we were all excited for our first tour and lecture of the day at the world famous Yacht Club de Monaco.
Our guides, Olivier and Damien took us around the Club, which was a 5 story building shaped like a yacht and furnished with multiple restaurants and bars for the elite members. For a background of the club, there are only 2,000 members, who pay an annual fee of 5,000 euros and come from a range of 66 different ethnicities. The President of the club is Prince Albert II of Monaco. He makes most of the decisions, including what 25 guests can get of of the waiting list each year.
Apart from the marketing, communications, sponsorship and events departments, the mot unique sector of the club is their education department. Within the last 2 years they have created 10 different schools in the office space next to the club. These schools include Master Service classes, Deck Hand classes, Cartography classes and a simulator room for people who want to become captains. In addition to educating these individuals, the yacht club also offers sailing classes and competitive teams for their youth members.
One of the most prized possessions of the club is the Boat of the Prince. This is a wooden boat which was built back in the start of the last century. It is only one of 4 in the world, so the Yacht Club of Monaco treasures it deeply. To keep it’s high standards and public vision, the YCM hosts an event every 2 months. These can range from private parties, to opening ceremonies for new members, all the way to international racing championships. This means the events, communications and marketing department have a very short turnover from one even to the next, so they must remain organized at all times.
After we left Monaco, we had a 2 hour bus ride to Marseille before we toured Olympique de Marseilles. This facility holds 3 grass practice fields for the Ligue 1 professional team, and 2 synthetic turf fields for their youth programs. This facility is used by the professional team as a practice facility and for game day walk-through before making the 15 minute drive to the team’s stadium. The pro team’s building was composed of a gym, the locker room, saunas and the medical department on the ground floor. The second floor was strictly designed for team bonding. The top floor is composed of bedrooms for the players to nap in between training sessions.
In the back of the property, there was a building designed for their youth team. We learned about the kids that live, attend classes, and train year round at the OM training facility. It was interesting to hear about the shift that they have gone through in terms of putting an emphasis on education first instead of focusing all efforts on training for soccer. It makes sense that a teenager getting injured would not have recourse if they only focused on soccer without providing adequate educational support.
The most impressive part about the facility, apart from the team actually playing while we were there, was the media room they had on the property. They are the only club in France to have their own tv channel filmed and broadcasted at their own headquarters. They are putting out news and specials 24/7, and the only two shows not filmed in the facility are the pre and post game reports. We learned that they get about half their revenue each year from TV rights and the other half from their direct marketing and sales department. The 50-60 million Euros from the TV rights vary pending on the team’s success, premium game broadcasts, and how they match up with different criteria as they can earn or lose points compared to other teams in the league. The other half of their revenue comes from ticketing, commercial and sponsorships, and selling products or merchandise. With their revenue, it was fascinating to learn that 90% went into the salary for the players.
After the training facility, we made our way to downtown Marseille to tour the Orange Velodrome, the club’s home stadium. The first stadium was built in 1937 for the first World Cup. They just recently finished the stadium’s third renovation. This project added 26,000 seats, 6,000 of which are in the new suits. The biggest accomplishments were completing the cover to protect players and fans from the winds which can reach up to 60 miles per hour, and the underground tunnel under the whole stadium. The roof cover makes the stadium almost completely self-sufficient. If it rains in Marseilles, the water hits the roof and collects into a canal under the stadium, where the water is the stored and recycled for bathrooms, and plumbing in concessions. The wind is also blocked and then collected and used as energy for the stadium. Before the renovations, if you wanted to get to the other side of the stadium, you would’ve had to take a metro ride, but not the stadium is completely connected. Underground there is now a tunnel for paramedics to be able to reach any entrance of the pitch, which provides a lot more safety and medical attention to the players. The progression of this stadium was impressive to see. Marseilles is the oldest city in France at 2,600 years old, but has some of the most passionate fans in all of France because they have been the only French team to win a UEFA championship. For now we are headed to Nimes and are planning to rest up for another big day tomorrow!
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