Sport: a key sector for French attractiveness


1. Sports market: powerful multinationals banking on France

The biggest names in sport are investing in France to increase their international activity and are adding to their teams in the country. Examples include US firms Nike and Foot Locker in 2014 and Japanese company Asics in 2015. German company CTS EVENTIM AG bought out Top Ticket France SAS in 2015 for €25 million.

2. French innovations in high demand from digital technology giants

In April 2016, Finnish company Nokia paid €170 million for the start-up Withings, a French pioneer in sports-related connected devices.

3. French start-ups ready to revolutionize sport

Coureur du Dimanche sells products made entirely in French workshops so that athletes can “run French”. is developing a collaborative platform enabling sportspeople at all levels to find facilities, equipment and coaching services near their location. The LSee is a metabolic tracker providing users with real-time information on how much fat their body is burning after eating or a physical activity.

4. France welcomes foreign sportspeople

In 2016, 34% of the players in France’s top football league (Ligue 1) were foreign nationals. Of the 252 players in the French Pro A basketball league, 110 (or 45%) are foreign nationals.

5. France is the world’s number one ski destination

France is the world’s leading ski destination with 54 million ski days sold in 2014/2015. Thirty-one percent of the clientele is foreign (Indicators and Analyses 2015 - Domaines Skiables de France (French Ski Resorts)). At the 2015 World Travel Awards, Val Thorens in Savoie, France, was voted the World’s Best Ski Resort.

6. Internationally-renowned French events

Each year, France organizes major sporting events: The Tour de France, the world’s most famous bicycle race, since 1903; Roland Garros, one of the four main (“grand slam”) tournaments on the international tennis circuit, since 1928; and the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race, since 1923. More recently, an extraordinary event, the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, was held in Normandy.

7. Mountain Planet: the trade show for mountain-industry professionals

For its 22nd edition, Mountain Planet, a trade show for mountain industry professionals, has focused on new digital technology: a control and warning system for defective closing mechanisms on chair lifts (Bluecime), a mobile app to optimize ski holidays (Cognidis) and a mobile app providing personalized information on snow conditions (Nivolog).

8. 2024 Olympic Games: a bid with a lot to offer

“Paris will provide an Olympic experience which fits its image as an innovative, radiant, creative city.” Among other things, the Paris bid for the 2024 Olympics is based on exceptional sporting venues, with just 5% of the infrastructure needing to be built.

9. All on board for Euro 2016!

France has invested €1.7 billion in stadiums for Euro 2016, the world’s third largest sporting event with a cumulative TV viewership of 8.1 billion.

10. A host of international events to be held in France between now and 2020

France will host the Men’s Handball World Championship, Ice Hockey World Championship, World Wrestling Championships and Canoe Slalom World Championships in 2017, the Ryder Cup golf tournament in 2018 and the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019.


Updated: June 2016