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Sponsorship: at the time of the finals, rugby is counting even more on its partners 

Covid 19 obliges, the Europe of rugby is updated this weekend with the finals of the 2019-2020 continental competitions, as often the framework of a Franco-English duel through the Toulon-Bristol posters in Challenge Cup and Racing 92-Exeter in the Champions Cup. The opportunity to look at the shirt sponsors of European clubs, major pillars of an economy of clubs undermined by almost closed doors and soon the curfew.

While in camera and other partial gauges greatly weaken the oval clubs, which are particularly dependent on ticketing revenues, the partners have a predominant role in their economic survival. And, the least we can say is that they are playing their role at the heart of this pandemic crisis.


Indeed, despite sometimes alarmist indicators, they all remained faithful to the post, or rather to the jersey they adorned. It’s very simple, no club of the French elite has seen its jersey partner change during the last offseason, all having honored their commitment. This loyalty is necessarily reassuring for club presidents who are often very worried about their financial future, but not necessarily surprising in view of the pedigree of the partners.

Sponsors Top14.png

Indeed, unlike its football cousin, which displays on several Ligue 1 jerseys of local companies, rugby can count on its more bourgeois image and CSP + to bring on board sponsors with very solid backs and often national dimensions. Thus the banking / insurance sector is over-represented with no less than seven clubs, including two for Matmut alone.

But, beyond this privileged sector, the Top 14 can count on its patrons since they are also the main shareholders of the club who are displayed on the jersey. Thus Altrad in Montpellier, Capri-Sun at the Stade Français or Total in Pau have a commitment which goes beyond the simple framework of partnership and which necessarily distorts the situation a little and illustrates a certain difficulty of these clubs in diversifying their partnerships.


A trend that we find across the Channel where the clubs are often in the hands of powerful billionaires and consortia who are sometimes displayed on the club jersey. This is particularly the case of Champions Cup finalist Exeter whose owner Tony Rowe uses visibility to showcase his company, South West Communications.

Sponsors Premiership.png

But apart from sponsorship, the type of partner company differs slightly from the Top 14 to go to more diversified and mainstream companies such as Dyson, Mitsubishi or Vodafone. An orientation that can be explained by the greater popularity of rugby in Great Britain. Where this sport is a regional (southwest) or social marker in France, it is universal and affects all strata of the population in England.

Sponsors Celtic Cup.png

A diversity that can be found in the Celtic Cup. In a league where the teams represent provinces more than cities, there are also national players representing several sectors of activity.

Deprived of its public with finals almost behind closed doors, a financially strangled European rugby can count on the loyalty of its sponsors to keep its head above water. Until when ? This is the question that haunts its leaders …

Read also:

>> Sponsoring: despite COVID19, the partners have not fled Ligue 1

>> Sponsorship in the face of the Covid19 crisis: a crisis to be expected?

>> Before the Crunch, the French are behind the XV of France

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