Lionel Messi’s PSG debut becomes most-watched French football match in Spain

Lionel Messi’s debut with Paris Saint-Germain averaged over 2 million viewers in Spain, making it the most-watched French football game in the country ever.

Messi, 34, finally made his first appearance for PSG in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Reims following his move from Barcelona on a free transfer this summer.

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The Argentina international replaced Neymar for the final 30 minutes, while Real Madrid target Kylian Mbappe scored both goals for PSG.

Messi’s debut was broadcast on the free-to-air channel Telecinco in Spain, with figures released on Monday revealing the match had an average audience of 2.2 million viewers, making it the most-watched programme in the country Sunday.

Lionel Messi enjoyed his debut at PSG as they secured a 2-0 win at Reims. Photo by John Berry/Getty Images

In total, over 6.7 million people tuned in to watch PSG’s win at some point during the 90 minutes.

Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Getafe in LaLiga, meanwhile, which was on pay-per-view television, averaged 591,000 viewers.

The PSG game was also shown live on the Twitch channel of Ibai Llanos, a Spanish streamer and esports commentator.

Llanos’ broadcast drew an average audience of over 300,000, peaking at 500,000. The total number of people who tuned in to the stream topped 2 million.

The rights to the French league were bought by Barca defender Gerard Pique following Messi’s move to Paris in August.

A source told ESPN last week Pique’s company, Kosmos, plan to sublicense the rights this season, with Telecinco and Llanos only securing access to Messi’s debut.

Pique has struck up a close relationship with Llanos in recent months and appeared as a guest on the pregame show Sunday. Through Kosmos, he streamed the Copa America final between Argentina and Brazil on Llanos’ Twitch channel in July.