AS VIVENDI ANNOUNCES ITS SPONSORSHIP OF THE 2023 RUGBY WORLD CUP, VIVENDI’S SIMON GILLHAM EXPLAINS WHY THIS IS AN OUTSTANDING OPPORTUNITY FOR THE GROUP.
Here, Simon Gillham, a member of Vivendi’s Management Board, chats about why the competition aligns so closely with the Group’s values and how our expertise and talent at Havas Group will extend our collective capabilities.
What is the process involved in becoming a sponsor of the Rugby World Cup?
Well first you must weigh up the pros and cons of such a decision in terms of visibility, image and business opportunities. Secondly you must decide if the quality/price ratio is worth the entry ticket. The Vivendi Management Board went through this analysis process and decided that France 2023 ticked all the boxes and it corresponded to our values. France 2023 is also about ten times lower in terms of investment costs over the next three years than the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Rugby has a very special place in the world of sport because there is space for everyone in the team, tall, small, fast, not so fast, solid, agile…it is also the fastest growing women’s sport in the world currently. The World Cup will be a celebration of love, friendship and conviviality, while promoting the values of combat, collective and courageous. We are very happy with both the internal response so far and the potential business opportunities for all our activities.
The power of the Vivendi network encompasses Universal Music Group, Canal+, Editis, Havas Group, Gameloft and Vivendi Village. How will collaboration with Havas help Vivendi elevate this World Cup?
Havas has huge expertise in advertising, media, events and communication. Havas Group will be mainly contributing to the event through its marketing and communications expertise and Havas Media has also been appointed as France 2023’s designated media agency for the next three years. We need all of this expertise as we tackle the Rugby World Cup. For example, BETC in Paris has already worked on logos for other sponsors and for Vivendi. Havas Paris has already provided an excellent study for a project to hire 2023 apprentices from all walks of life to the great satisfaction of France 2023. Havas Sport and Entertainment is contributing expertise on CRM and content. Havas is also working with See Tickets to provide ticketing solutions. There are many more examples which I could mention. We will also be able to propose our services to the other seven official sponsors.
Vivendi has already kicked off several initiatives ahead of the World Cup, including work from Universal Music A&R, Editis and BETC. How long have these events been in the making?
We have already done some really fun stuff, including the very amusing film in which Yannick Bolloré and many Vivendi directors play a starring role! Universal Music Group France organized The France 2023 Rugby Train in September and October, which covered every corner of the Hexagon and created a lot of excitement around the event. Gameloft has worked on a potential video game to provide amusement, sell tickets and attract new fans. Editis has produced a magnificent recipe book from a team of Michelin Starred French Chefs. This being France, rugby, good cuisine, and fine wines are inseparable! As I said earlier, this is just the beginning!
With the pandemic, many things are uncertain. How will Vivendi plan in this climate?
This is very true. We will continue to do just as we are doing now and that is manage uncertainty. Every day the goalposts shift. Our job is to adapt to each new situation. That is like a rugby team. You have a great game plan until your opponent comes and smashes you off course! I am confident that both France 2023 and we will know how to adapt, just as we did with the launch on October 30 which was fraught with Covid issues.
How do you think this World Cup will differ to previous tournaments?
It will be a very environmentally conscious World Cup and it will welcome every man, woman, boy and girl either in the stadia, the fan zones or on social media across the globe. It will be inclusive and encourage everyone to become actors and participants in a multicultural and multinational event. And it will be in France, where everyone will be welcomed in each of the towns and regions selected. There is so much to see, visit, eat and drink in this wonderful country. To adapt a well-known phrase: “when you are bored with France, you are bored with life.” So, Bienvenue en France…To beat the Covid Blues, start planning now!