ASBH in orbit: will financial partners follow ?

ASBH in orbit: will financial partners follow ?

Les partenaires et sponsors… Incontournables en conférence de presse. – Laurent François

Tous les yeux se tournent vers les chefs d’entreprise, premiers contributeurs du club.

Sunday, in Midi Libre, there was first the declaration of Robert Ménard, mayor of Béziers: "In Top 14, more money is needed. If we love Béziers and if we have it, at some point we have to get together around the club. We all applauded. Now a certain number of people need to get out their checkbooks." And if we hadn't understood, on the next page, the president of the ASBH Jean-Michel Vidal was even more specific& nbsp;: "I saw people who no longer came to the stadium and who have money, business leaders with means who had tears in my eyes. All this will bring us a surplus of partners."

At a time when ASBH could move up to the top 14, the question of the budget necessary to rub shoulders with the elite is becoming more and more acute, and we are naturally turning towards the first contributors: companies. The rugby club is supported by ten big "official partners" among which we find the institutional ones (the town hall, the agglomeration, the region, the department) and private sponsors such as the promoter Hectare (see below), BMW Béziers, Suez, Sietel Midi Télécom, the clothing distributor Shilton in Quarante, and equipment supplier BeRugbe.

Each of them takes full advantage, during these intense and closely watched final phase matches, of the presence of their logo on the club's jersey or equipment. For Hervé Billaud, director of Sietel, a supplier of telecom equipment, the matter goes beyond just business: "I have supported the club since 1990, and I ;rsquo;I've known it all: federal matches like the Top 16, I've always been there. The price of passion? He is one of the few to give it cash: 60,000 euros this year. In return, he benefits from a box, an advertising panel, the mention of his company on the bibs and even on the jersey this year. But it is difficult to see himself going further, even in the event of an uphill climb: "We are a small regional company, and already I get asked a lot of questions about the importance of my support, whether professionally or privately… I'm still not going to sink the company!"

Lighthouse investors

This sharing between enthusiasm and realism is also the state of mind of Matthieu Ourliac, CEO of the Caminarem group and president of Medef Ouest-Hérault: "A possible rise to the Top 14 will create significant enthusiasm, which will be beneficial for businesses and the city… I therefore think that our members will be ready to participate more massively in sponsoring the ASBH." Which does not mean that the checkbook will be completely opened: "This will be done in proportion to the wealth of companies in Biterrois, which will not be sufficient for a Top 14 budget. It will be necessary to go beyond and consolidate it with flagship investors, national companies ."

There are others who are doing their best, and we have no trouble believing them: these are the 162 simple partners, from Auchan Béziers to Sablières du littoral via Lucien Barba, of the emblematic Béziers brasserie-fishmonger. This "red and blue" historical expenditure each year "several thousand’euros" for the club. In exchange ? Not even a free place. The partners just benefit from a privileged commercial relationship with ASBH, when it chooses its suppliers, and build links with other partners. But for the former player, the most rewarding thing is to be associated with rugby, and with its values: "Respect, conviviality… Friday evening was magical. The players from Brive and Béziers had a drink together after the match. We had taken out the club banner in front of the fishmonger. Motorists honked their horns and waved at us. There are people who are sensitive to that, who say to themselves, here is a merchant who participates in the life of the ASBH and the city."

And the Top 14 ? It would certainly be nice, but Lucien Barba doesn’not make it an obsession : "C& ;rsquo;is another budget, and I don’t know if Béziers has the economic power for that."

The budget of ASBH rugby

When we talk about the participation of companies in the ASBH budget, and a possible increase in power, it is still necessary to place this participation in its context. To survive for a season, and in particular to pay its players and staff, the Béziers professional team can count on a budget of 8.5 million euros.

Revenues are distributed among four main items.
34% comes from sponsorship and partnership. Companies are therefore the main contributor.
30% is provided by audiovisual rights.
20% is public aid.
15% comes from ticket sales and other sources.

Public aid therefore represents around 1.7 million euros.
Around 77% are given by the town hall and the agglomeration (respectively 58.85% and 17.93%).
16.02% come from the Hérault department.
7.20% of the Occitanie region.

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