PSG chief Al-Khelaifi calls for Champions League to emulate Super Bowl

PSG chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi calls for the Champions League to introduce a Super Bowl-style opening ceremony to ‘challenge the status quo’… insisting he ‘can’t understand’ how the US event feels ‘bigger’ than European football’s showpiece

  • Nasser Al-Khelaifi wants the Champions League to become more of a spectacle 
  • The PSG president has urged UEFA to make the event similar to the Super Bowl
  • Al-Khelaifi says the US showpiece ‘feels bigger’ than the Champions League final
  • He is desperate to see opening ceremonies and a tweak to the Super Cup format 

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has called for the Champions League to introduce a Super Bowl-esque opening ceremony to ensure every match becomes ‘an event and entertainment’ in similar fashion to the US showpiece.

The Super Bowl has become just as famous for its pre-game and half-time ceremonies in recent times as it has for the NFL championship match that plays out on the night, with this year’s event featuring performances from Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mickey Guyton and more. 

Champions League matches are a lot less glitzy and extravagant spectacles in comparison, despite a brief opening ceremony taking place before every final.

PSG chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi wants the Champions League to become more of a spectacle

He is calling for the competition to emulate the Super Bowl’s pre-game and half-time shows

During an interview with The Athletic, PSG chief Al-Khelaifi expressed his frustration that the Super Bowl ‘feels bigger’ than the Champions League final, urging UEFA officials to emulate their American counterparts by bringing in an opening ceremony and tweaking their Super Cup format. 

‘The final should be bigger,’ Al-Khelaifi said when discussing Europe’s elite club competition. ‘I can’t understand how the Super Bowl can feel bigger than the Champions League final. 

‘The Super Bowl, and the US generally, have this mindset, creativity and entertainment. That’s what I have suggested, to have an opening ceremony to the Champions League, to have one match on the opening night where the winners take on a big team — maybe it is not a good idea, but at least let’s challenge the status quo. Each match needs to be an event and entertainment.’ 

The Super Bowl has become famous for its entertainment, with this year’s event featuring the likes of Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg

The Champions League final is a lot less glitzy and extravagant of a showpiece in comparison

Al-Khelaifi wants UEFA to introduce an opening Champions League ceremony to emulate the Super Bowl

Al-Khelaifi, who is now the chair of the European Clubs’ Association, has become one of the most powerful executives in the continent over the past 12 months after taking a firm stance against controversial plans for a European Super League.

When Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus drew up earth-shattering proposals to break away and form an exclusive division containing Europe’s biggest clubs, the PSG president rejected an invitation and enhanced his reputation in the game as a result.

Nevertheless, some critics have argued that Al-Khelaifi only opposed plans for a European Super League because his TV network beIN Sport had billions of pounds tied up in broadcasting contracts with UEFA.  

But the 48-year-old insisted in a press conference: ‘When times are bad, people ask for my help. But when times are good, I’m suddenly conflicted.

‘I will give you some examples. I am extremely proud to be a part of this ECA family and I feel a responsibility to serve all the clubs. But when the not-so-Super League happened, I was asked many, many times over several days to be a chairman. I didn’t ask to do it myself — the opposite. So I helped, we rebuilt the organisation — and then apparently I’m conflicted when it’s sorted.

The PSG chief has enhanced his reputation in European football over the past 12 months

‘Another example was what happened with the French League TV rights (where a deal with Mediapro collapsed), again I was asked to help when it all collapsed, I helped them sort the TV rights — and when it’s OK, I hear I’m conflicted. 

‘Also on the Super League, I stand against the Super League out of principle and despite many reasons to consider it, and people are happy it all collapses — then I hear I only stood against it because of self-interest — it’s crazy. You can’t have it both ways.

‘What’s most important for me is that I am enjoying what I am doing, I am trying to help as much as I can, in every role that I have and bringing positive energy to the amazing team that I have at the ECA.’

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