European Cups (rugby): "Sponsorship revenues on the rise, TV rights much higher" (V. Gaillard, EPCR)Paris - Published Tuesday, January 28, 2020 - 10:30 - #173351 "While sponsorship revenues are indeed on the rise, those from TV broadcasting rights for the Heineken Champions CupHeineken Champions CupFirst level of the European Rugby Cups. 20 clubs. Organised by the EPCR. and Challenge CupChallenge CupSecond level of the European Rugby Union Cups. 20 clubs. Organised by the EPCR. around the world are much higher, by a ratio of approximately 1 to 5," said Vincent Gaillard CEO of EPCREPCREuropean Professional Club Rugby, is the governing body and organiser of two European rugby cup competitions: the European Rugby Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup. to News Tank Football on 07/01/2020, ahead of the Round 5 of the 2019-20 European rugby cups that was played from 10 to 12/01/2020.
Regarding the logic of having one free and one paid broadcaster for each territory, "it is a question of finding the right balance between revenues, necessary for our stakeholders and for the development of rugby at a national level, and the accessibility of our competitions, necessary in the long term for our reputation and the viability of our commercial programme. We are particularly pleased with this balance," continued the head of European Professional Club Rugby.
"The choice of Marseille (FRA) and the Orange Vélodrome (as the host site for both of the 2020 European Cup finals) was simply based on the quality of their application, and indeed with the aim of offering new experiences to our fans and meeting new fans in new territories," added Vincent Gaillard, who answered questions posed by News Tank Football.
HeinekenHeineken (beer), The Financial Times (media) and KappaKappa (equipment manufacturer) have recently partnered with EPCR. Is sponsorship your main source of revenue?
Heineken and Tissot's contribution is considerable and beneficial to the reputation of our competitions on an international levelWhile sponsorship revenues are indeed on the rise, those from TV broadcasting rights for the Champions CupHeineken Champions CupFirst level of the European Rugby Cups. 20 clubs. Organised by the EPCR. and Challenge CupChallenge CupSecond level of the European Rugby Union Cups. 20 clubs. Organised by the EPCR. around the world are much higher, by a ratio of approximately 1 to 5. Having said that, the contribution of our various partners, notably HeinekenHeineken and TissotKappa, is not only financial. Their contribution in terms of activations and publicity is considerable and beneficial to the reputation of our competitions on an international level.
What are your objectives in terms of sponsorship? Would you like to have less in order to give them more visibility?
Our main objective is to establish partnerships with reputable companies and brandsOur main objective is to establish partnerships with reputable companies and brands that are actively involved in our international competitions, according to their business sector and strategic objectives. In this respect, our relationship with Heineken - which has been maintained for almost 25 years, a unique case of which we are very proud - is particularly telling. However, we have also developed a national offer, for brands whose marketing activity is limited to France or Great Britain for example, offering very significant activation opportunities in a given territory. We are constantly striving to create added value and invest in our offer to ensure that it remains relevant.
Heineken back as title sponsor of the Champions Cup since 2018-19
• The Dutch beer brand Heineken became the title sponsor of the European Rugby Champions Cup "for four years from the 2018-19 season" on 04/06/2018.
• In France the competition was renamed the Champions Cup and the beer brand is an official main partner. This designation is only valid in France because of the Loi Évin. In Britain, the competition is named Heineken Champions Cup.
• Heineken was previously the title sponsor of the competition from 1996 to 2014 (named the "H Cup" in France at the time) an paid an estimated €8m for the final year of the contract in 2013-14. The beer brand remained a sponsor of the EPCREPCREuropean Professional Club Rugby, is the governing body and organiser of two European rugby cup competitions: the European Rugby Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup. for the 2014-2018 period but with a lower commitment (around €3m/season).
How do you promote the Heineken brand in France despite the Loi Évin?
The Heineken brand remains very widely and spontaneously associated with our flagship competitionThis is obviously a challenge, because everyone's concern is to ensure that the law is respected. However, the opportunities available to Heineken France around the Champions Cup remain important, especially in terms of hospitality and activations through sales outlets. It also seems to me that, in the minds of the French public, the Heineken brand remains very widely and spontaneously associated with our flagship competition.
What about the possibility of finding a title partner for the Challenge Cup? Doesn't the title "Heineken Champions Cup" prevent the product from being called the "Champions Cup"?
We are looking for a title partner for the Challenge CupAs far as the Challenge Cup is concerned, we are indeed looking for a title partner, in a very positive context of increasing stadium attendance and TV audiences. As far as our flagship competition is concerned, we believe that the fact that the Champions Cup brand is associated with a brand as prestigious and consistent with the universe of our sport as HeinekenHeineken, only reinforces its attractiveness.
In your TV rights agreements for the 2018-2022 cycle, you often have a free-TV and pay-TV operator for each territory. What is your reasoning behind this?
This strategy is countercurrent to what can be done in footballIt is a question of finding the right balance between revenues, necessary for our stakeholders and for the development of rugby at a national level, and the accessibility of our competitions, necessary in the long term for our reputation and the viability of our commercial programme. We are particularly pleased with this balance, especially in France, the UK and Ireland. This strategy is clearly countercurrent to what can be done in football for example, but it seems to us to be the right one both for the clubs involved and for the general public.
France: an additional free-to-air Champions Cup match on France 2 (Saturdays) until 2021-22
• The public TV group France Télévisions acquired, via a sub-license from the pay-TV group beIN Sports, the TV rights to one additional Champions Cup match per weekend during the group stages of the competition until 2021-22, on 22/10/2019.
• "In addition to the usual Sunday afternoon match, France 2 will broadcast another live match on Saturday." The agreement, which will have no financial counterpart, would have been born from a willingness of beIN Sports to give visibility to the competition, according to the French sports daily l'Equipe on the same day.
• France Télévisions (one match per weekend) and beIN Sports (all matches) extended their broadcasting rights to the European Rugby Cups for the 2018-2022 cycle on 24/05/2017. For the final phase, double co-broadcasting will depend on the qualification of the French clubs. As long as there are two French clubs in the competition, they will be offered free-to-air in addition to being broadcast on beIN Sports.
• "As the call for tenders (2018-2022) permits, discussions could be initiated between beIN Sports and France Télévisions to further increase the free-to-air exposure of the competitions," said EPCR on 24/05/2017.
• The public TV group already benefited from the two best fixtures of the H Cup (which became the ERC Cup during the 2014-15 season) during the 2010-2014 cycle when the French pay-TV group Canal+ held the rights to the entire competition.
How do you try to reach territories outside Europe (particularly where TV rights agreements could not be signed)? Is OTT then the solution?
We already cover the world's major countriesWe already cover the world's major countries through numerous agreements in North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania, and by effectively blending traditional linear broadcasters (such as NBC in the USA or SuperSport in South Africa) with OTTOTTOver-the-top, content provided through the Internet. platforms (such as DAZNDAZN in Japan, Canada or Germany or Rugby Pass in part of Oceania).
The EPCR announced a five-year record of 210,765 spectators for Round 3 of the 2019-20 European Cups. How do you explain this surge in attendance?
Excitement for our competitions is stronger than everAfter a somewhat laborious transition from the "H Cup" to the Heineken Champions CupHeineken Champions CupFirst level of the European Rugby Cups. 20 clubs. Organised by the EPCR., changes in format and governance, we are indeed seeing that the excitement for our competitions is stronger than ever. The main point of demarcation that we are trying to maintain is the intensity and quality of the game, the general selectivity making the participating teams have little room for error. We try to keep the level of rugby as high as possible, which of course is influenced by the formats chosen, the refereeing practised, etc.
Rugby: 210,765 spectators for Round 3 of the 2019-20 European Cups, the best attendance in 5 years
• "European club rugby tournaments featured the highest total attendance for the Round 3 matches (06-08/12/2019) during the EPCR era with 210,765 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup fans going through the turnstiles," said European Professional Club Rugby on 13/12/2019.
• The Munster Rugby (Guinness Pro14) - Saracens RFC (Gallagher Premiership Rugby) game (10-3) posted the best attendance of Heineken Champions Cup with 25,024 spectators at Thomond Park (25,600 capacity) in Limerick (IRL) on Saturday 07/12/2019. The ten games during Round 3 of the Heineken Champions Cup posted a total attendance of 141,228 (67% of the total), an average of 14,122 spectators per match.
• The Rugby Club Toulonnais (Top 14) - London Irish Rugby (Gallagher Premiership Rugby) match (37-17) posted the best Challenge Cup attendance with 15,336 spectators at the Stade Mayol (18,200 capacity) in Toulon (FRA) on 07/12/2019. The ten games during Round 3 of the Challenge Cup posted a total attendance of 69,537, or an average of 6,953 spectators per game.
The Orange Vélodrome in Marseille (FRA) will host the finals of both of the 2020 European Cups. What do you expect from this event? How is the choice of the site for the finals made and is it logical to award these matches to territories that are less enthusiastic about rugby?
More than 60,000 tickets have already been sold for the weekendWe are expecting historic finals, in a mythical city and stadium! The choice of Marseille was simply based on the quality of their application, and indeed with the aim of offering new experiences to our fans and meeting new fans in new territories. More than 60,000 tickets have already been sold for the weekend, so I would advise those interested to come forward quickly: some French clubs currently have very good chances of going all the way, including in the Challenge Cup, given the current performances of RC Toulonnais and Union Bordeaux Bègles in particular.
A change in the format of the competitions has been suggested from 2022-23. What are your thoughts on this?
Improvement could be through an even tighter formatAll the elements that would allow us to further improve the current formats are being studied, and our objective is to reach a conclusion very quickly. Improvement could be through an even tighter format, but not solely, and nothing has been decided yet. On the other hand, we have a majority preference for competitions over nine weekends, as is the case today.
Why did you move your headquarters from Neuchâtel (SUI) to Lausanne (SUI) in July 2018? Have you seen the benefits since then?
Lausanne, an ecosystem of sports management that is unique in the worldWe are reaping very significant benefits, particularly in terms of logistics, thanks to our closer proximity to Geneva International Airport (SUI), and in terms of the environment and human resources, thanks to our presence in the "Olympic Capital", where we benefit from an ecosystem of sports management that is unique in the world, all in a particularly healthy and dynamic economic and social context.
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Directeur Général May 2015 Today
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Fondateur February 2014 Today
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Co-fondateur, membre non exécutif du conseil d'administration February 2014 Today
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Manager général (Beijing 2008 et London 2012) June 2006 at June 2011
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Directeur du planning des operations et des événements January 1998 at June 2006
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European Professional Club Rugby
Sector: governing body and organisers of the European Rugby Champions Cup, the European Rugby Challenge Cup and the qualification competition of the Challenge Cup (European Rugby Continental Shield)
Headquarters: Neuchâtel then Lausanne from 01/07/2018
Shareholders: French Rugby Federation (FFR), Federazione Italiana Rugby (FIR), Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), Rugby Football Union (RFU), Scottish Rugby (SR), Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), National Rugby League (NRL), Premiership Rugby Limted (PRL) and Pro Rugby Wales
Independent Chairman: Simon Halliday
CEO: Vincent Gaillard
Marketing and Commercial Director: François Vergnol
Creative agency: Designwerk
• Heineken (NED, beer), title sponsor of the Champions Cup (1996-2014 and 2018-2022)
• Tissot (SUI, watchmakers)
• Gilbert (GBR, rugby equipment): official ball
• Financial Times (UK, media),until 2021-22
• Kappa (ITA, equipment supplier), match officials and staff (2019-2022)
• BT Sport (UK, pay-TV)
• Sky Sports (UK, pay-TV)
• Channel 4 (UK, free-TV, 2018-2022 cycle)
• France 2 (FRA, free-TV)
• France 4 (FRA, free-TV)
• beIN Sports (FRA, pay-TV)
• TG4 (IRL, free-TV)
• TV3 (IRL, free and private TV, 2018-2022 cycle)
• NBC (USA, free-TV, 2018-2022 cycle)
• Midi Olympique (FRA, press)
• RTÉ Sport (IRL, media)
• News Talk (IRL, radio)
• BBC Radio 5live (GBR, radio)
• The Times & The Sunday Times (GBR, press)