Peguy Luyindula is a well-known commodity around international soccer, a player who has been a part of the French national team and played in the Champions League for some of the biggest clubs in his country. After their careers on the field are done, many players dream of a career in television.
But the 35-year-old midfielder for the Red Bulls passed on being in front of the camera and decided to start a television station as an investment instead.
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Luyindula created a channel to showcase his love of music and the arts. He began investing in real estate at a young age but admits “it wasn't that enjoyable to me.” He is the owner and CEO of the music station, which is based in France.
“When you're a soccer player in France, people and family come to you with weird ideas for what to do with your money. I've always been interested in people who create,” Luyindula told Metro. “Since my interest with music has always been strong, why not do something with music? Early in 2007, I tried to make a record company with my cousin who was actually in a band with two famous rappers, but sometimes family and business isn't so good of an idea. I had a friend, however, who had an interest in music and television as well. I'm eclectic — for me it's just about the rhythm. The idea pleased me and I have to think about my life after my career. I said, 'Why not try it?'”
Luyindula started the channel from scratch three years and didn't use any previous infrastructure. The French cable network focuses only on music and documentaries, in particular on the music that might not be as mainstream as other bands. Luyindula said he takes joy in the music that may not be as popular that he can give a broader exposure to.
So far, he says the channel has 1.5 million viewers each month, a number that pleases Luyindula, although he sees room to grow. He remains the only investor to date, although he is currently looking for new partners. He pays the bills and admits he carefully watches viewership numbers with an eye toward the future.
Programming is rather simple, consisting of music videos and artist interviews.
“I focus on good music, really good music, what people want to listen to,” Luyindula said. “[I'm] trying to give people appreciation for different music, all types of artists and bands.”
Since he signed with the Red Bulls last year, Luyindula has to wake up early in the morning because of the time difference with Paris, where the station is based. He does work on his laptop and then helps with his family, making breakfast or dropping the kids off at the school. It's the multi-faceted life of a soccer player, husband, father and CEO.
By mid-morning he's off to the Red Bulls' training facility, where he refuses to let himself think about paying the bills for his television station. Instead, he's honed in on the field.
On the field for New York, he's a solid, creative player. He flows into the game and enjoys parking himself centrally in the midfield to get as many touches as possible.
His long dreadlocks bounce as he runs down the field, deftly flicking on a pass and running into position to receive the ball back. He plays like a bit of an artist on the field, running as if to a soundtrack.
“I never think business on the field. To be on the field, it helps to go somewhere to cut off from the business world,” Luyindula said. “I won't let my time on the field be impacted by anything else.”
He envisions running his station full-time when he retires from soccer. The station has its own magazine as well, something he is hoping to bring over to the United States.
In addition to his television network in France, Luyindula is investing in the growth of soccer in this country. He is a backer of the new SoFive soccer facility in Carlstadt, New Jersey that is set to open next March. Luyindula's investment will boast several indoor soccer fields, geared for games of five-a-side soccer that promote technical development.
Follow Red Bulls writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.