Tuesday October 3, 2023

Mbappé’s Potential Record $1B Deal Threatens Soccer’s Economic Balance

  • Deal would shatter prior records in the sport.
  • Points of stress already visible in European soccer.
Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports
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The potential record-setting transfer of French soccer star Kylian Mbappé threatens an already delicate financial balance in world soccer.

Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal is preparing a $1.1 billion offer to sign Mbappé from Paris Saint-Germain, including a $332 million fee to PSG and a one-year, $776 million salary — a deal that would double as a way for Mbappé to then join Real Madrid after the 2023-24 season, as is his reported intention.

Both numbers would shatter prior records in global soccer, beating the $262 million transfer fee PSG paid in 2017 for Brazilian star Neymar and also the annual $214 million Cristiano Ronaldo earns from Saudi team Al Nassr, including commercial deals. 

Mbappé’s deal — which involves two oil-rich nations, given PSG’s Qatari-based ownership — could further erode the economic parity FIFA has sought to promote and enforce via its Financial Fair Play rules.

Allan Saint-Maximin’s proposed move from Saudi-backed Newcastle United to Saudi team Al Ahli has already raised concerns, and given pushback from fans about ticket pricing, Mbappé’s situation applies additional economic pressure.

In Perspective

In comparison with other lifetime earnings and franchise valuations, the numbers behind Mbappé’s potential contract are even more eye-popping.

  • $531M: LeBron James’ all-time NBA earnings
  • $494M: Patrick Mahomes’ deal through 2031
  • $450M: The value of the Arizona Coyotes
  • $367M: The New York Mets’ entire payroll
  • $332M: Tom Brady’s all-time NFL earnings
  • $225M: The 2023 NFL Salary Cap
  • $185M: The value of the Seattle Storm
  • $157M: Tiger Woods’ career PGA earnings

“I think if you have enough money, you can get away with anything, including murder, and try to sign up all the top players in the world,” said Tony Khan, vice chair of the Premier League’s Fulham FC and Jacksonville Jaguars chief strategy officer, last week on “The Dan Le Batard Show.”

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