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France: "D1 Arkema naming rights make us one of the major players post-World Cup" (G. Galinier)

News Tank Football - Paris - Interview #164857 - Published on 17/10/19 at 17:34 -
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©  Bruno Mazodier
Gilles Galinier - ©  Bruno Mazodier

"Naming rights makes us one of the major players post-World Cup. We are thus joining the FFF's legacy plan after the 2019 Women's World Cup," said Gilles Galinier, external communications director at Arkema, to News Tank Football on 10/10/2019.

The French chemical and advanced materials group, and "national supporter" of the 2019 Women's World Cup, became the title partner of the French women's first division, which has been named the "D1 Arkema" since the beginning of the 2019-20 season, for a period of three years, until the end of the 2021-22 season, according to an agreement on 21/06/2019. "Our investment of €1m per year over three years will benefit the women's teams of the 12 D1 Arkema clubs in their development and structure."

"We are happy to be involved at the beginning of this collective process. The naming agreement is also transversal and less cleavable than an association with a single club. We are thus helping the entire ecosystem of French women's football. We are therefore delighted to be identified as one of the founding partners of what is being set up in France for women's football," said Gilles Galinier.

"This commitment is rooted in our vision of sponsorship, it is also for us to contribute something to the sport in which we invest, but we know that it will take patience for the championship to find its full place in the sports and media landscape. We will be attentive and committed to this development," he added.

"The fact that Canal+ signed a five-year broadcasting contract (2018-2023) for the D1 Arkema was one of the key points in concluding this agreement. We can sense the broadcaster's interest in investing and promoting its product as with the creation of the first Trophée des championnes, which it co-organised with the FFF. Concerning free-to-air windows, they are part of the possibilities, ideas that we regularly discuss with Canal+ and the FFF," continued Gilles Galinier, who answered questions from News Tank Football.


Tell us about the genesis of your agreement with the FFF for the naming rights to the D1 Arkema

We were partners at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, which opened up a new world for us, which is women's football, just as it was taking on a new dimension. We were close to the local organising committee as a partner and therefore to the FFF Organised in France, from 07/06 to 07/07/2019, in nine cities: Grenoble, Le Havre, Lyon, Montpellier, Nice, Paris (Parc des Princes), Reims, Rennes and Valenciennes. which headed the committee. We could thus feel the enthusiasm and see that a need for more structure was going to be felt. In parallel, since the announcement of our involvement in the 2019 World Cup, we have been approached by many women's football clubs as a new player.

We first wanted to measure the impact of the competition, let the World Cup end to evaluate how the Arkema group had expressed itself, how it had emerged and how this could be extended. At that time, the FFF came to us with this naming project, a project that was consistent with our ambitions, both externally and internally. The 2019 World Cup was a great image lever. We partnered with a global event that gave us strong visibility through broadcasting and ticketing, allowing us to showcase our brand around the world and talk about the place of women.

Naming rights makes us one of the major players post-World Cup. We are thus associated with the FFF's legacy plan following the competition. Our investment of €1m per year over three years will benefit the women's teams of the 12 D1 Arkema clubs in their development and structure. We associate our name with this structure, an association whose genesis has been strengthened by Arkema's very strong support for the 2019 World Cup. Arkema is gradually finding its place in the world of sports sponsorship, which has assimilated that a BtoB Organised in France, from 07/06 to 07/07/2019, in nine cities: Grenoble, Le Havre, Lyon, Montpellier, Nice, Paris (Parc des Princes), Reims, Rennes and Valenciennes. player can be associated with it. We are happy to be involved at the beginning of this collective process. The naming agreement is also transversal and less cleavable than an association with a single club. We are thus helping the entire ecosystem of French women's football. We are therefore delighted to be identified as one of the founding partners of what is being set up in France for women's football.

We all hope that the growth of the D1 Arkema will follow the trajectory of "les Bleus, who took 10 years to fill stadiums and obtain such audiences. We signed for three years, but we are aiming for the long term so that the D1 Arkema can gradually be installed. Everyone must and will work together: the broadcaster (Canal+), the sponsors and the FFF. We are therefore delighted to be identified as one of the founding partners of what is being set up in France for women's football. It is also necessary for clubs to structure themselves, work on their activations, and the fan experience etc. All this is set in motion with the objective of co-creating this project with all the stakeholders.

Does this naming rights agreement extend your association with the World Cup with the same objectives?

As with the World Cup, naming rights will allow us to continue to make progress in terms of image and notoriety. Every time the competition is mentioned, we talk about our company through a league that is one of the best in Europe. We have a real complicity with the FFF. Our objectives meet and they have increased their level of requirements. We want this championship to be more structured and more visible to attract more and more media and sponsors, so much the better if the impetus comes from Arkema.

This commitment is rooted in our vision of sponsorship, it is also for us to contribute something to the sport in which we invest, but we know that it will take patience for the championship to find its full place in the sports and media landscape. We will be attentive and committed to this development, especially since the FFF closely monitors the number of female members and we can see that the enthusiasm is present with numerous application requests among the clubs. Sponsors are also starting to follow with agreements solely with women's teams because the clubs have understood that the demand is emerging. With this championship, we are addressing a different audience, which is a little more family oriented.

What about the human resources perspective, with your agreement with the 2019 World Cup?

We have proven our ability to talk about the place of women in business and industry during the 2019 World Cup. It is a lever that must be used by HR for women and will be used more and more in the future because we aim to recruit women for all our professions, including on our industrial sites. The industry needs to explain to the female population that they can have a career there. Being a sponsor made it easier for us to speak out about the place of women.

We have not yet conducted a real notoriety measurement to know the area where we are most emerging, but we have easily measured the appeal of the World Cup internally. Each event organised around the World Cup was a success with a high level of participation.

We have also brought our ambassador Gaëtane Thiney to our headquarters. Of a total of more than 4,000 people invited to the 2019 World Cup matches, 60% were employees, most of whom came with their families. We also asked the HR department if they had felt an increase in female applications. Our assessments continue on this point, but, in any case, in terms of employer brand discourse with young people in school, human resources have taken over our sponsorship agreements.

What other positive aspects have you noted as a result of your involvement in the 2019 World Cup?

In addition to the internal appeal, and the benefits in terms of image and notoriety, we have broadened our contact base and recovered many additional followers on social networks, followers who continue to follow our educational content about chemicals after the World Cup, content quite far from football. So we managed to reach the right target, the right audience.

The D1 Arkema does not have a free-to-air window. Is this an element that was important in the negotiations?

The fact that Canal+ signed a five-year broadcasting contract (2018-2023) for the D1 Arkema was one of the key points in concluding this agreement. We can sense the broadcaster's interest in investing and promoting its product as well as with the creation of the first Trophée des championnes (women's cup competition), which it co-organised with the FFF. Some matches will be broadcast on Canal+, and not only on Canal+ Sport. They have the same vision of long-term development and commitment as we do. It also contributes to the up-scaling of technical installations in stadiums and can encourage the use of images of the D1 Arkema by more widespread media.

Concerning free-to-air windows, they are part of the possibilities, ideas that we regularly discuss with Canal+ and the FFF. We are all asking ourselves what we can do collectively to develop women's football.

What about your agreements with your ambassadors?

Gaëtane Thiney (Paris FC, D1 Arkema) is committed to working with us until the end of 2019 and we are looking at how to work with her next year. Clara Mateo, also a player with Paris FC (D1 Arkema), is also committed to us in order to carry out her dual project and anticipate her redeployment. She studied engineering in materials and came to Arkema for a 12-week internship, six at headquarters and six in a research center specialised in the materials of the future. Clara Mateo is therefore an embodiment of our approach and our involvement in women's football through a friendly, successful, young woman who is a brilliant student, in short, a truly beautiful history of human relations.

©  Bruno Mazodier
Gilles Galinier - ©  Bruno Mazodier