Groupama Arena of Ferencvárosi TC

By August 27, 2014
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With its new Groupama Arena, Ferencvárosi TC followed a trend that is daily business in the industry of stadiums and arenas nowadays. They did the same as Manchester City did with its Etihad Stadium, Arsenal with its Emirates Stadium and Bayern Munich with its Allianz Arena. All of them named their (new) stadium to their main sponsor. Nothing special you would say, but Ferencváros is the first Hungarian team to copy this phenomenon. An agreement for seven years was signed and next to this Groupama supports Ferencváros in its club development.

Key facts

Name

Groupama Arena           

Country/City

Hungary / Budapest

Club

Ferencvárosi TC

Opening

2014

Capacity

23,700

Operator

Lagardère Group

Other tenants  

Hungary national team                   

Website

http://groupamaarena.com/   

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Groupama Arena, with a capacity of 23,700 seats, Ferencváros inaugurated its venue with a gala match against Chelsea FC. The match ended with a 1-2 result. To get a clearer view in the topic of 'naming rights', we arranged an interview with two speakers who were key players in this operation.
 

We interviewed Tamás Szekeres about this topic, he is Managing Director at Lagardère Unlimited Stadium Solutions:

Do you think that other Hungarian clubs will follow the example of giving the name of its main sponsor to their stadium/arena?

Yes, I think every new arena will consider this opportunity. The successful cooperation between Ferencváros and Lagardère Unlimited Stadium Solutions will be copied by other Hungarian clubs.
 

What were the most difficult items to compete with during the building process of the new arena?

It would have been a lot easier to handle operational issues in the early constructional and planning phase if I have had the LUSS’s knowhow behind me from the very beginning of the project. Ferencváros and LUSS signed their marketing and operational contract at the end of February 2014 and the Hungarian subsidiary of LUSS was founded in the middle of March so our newly recruited team had to work day and night in „quick step” in order to meet the high requirements.
 

How did the preparation evolve towards the match against Chelsea FC?

We had a really busy, stressful and tough four-month preparation period before the inauguration match, but finally everything went perfect technically as well as on organizational point of view.
 

How did ESSMA facilitate you so far and how can they keep on progressing in the future?

I learnt a lot during my stay at ESSMA events about stadia business and I got information on which I never had access to in Hungary. I gained a significant network over the years through these conferences which helped me to find the adequate persons in different subject. I would be very interested to take part on events again where stadium operators share their experiences and thoughts with each other.

We also had a second interview about the Groupama Arena, with Ulrik Ruhnau, Managing Director at Lagardère Unlimited Stadium Solutions:
 

Do you think other Hungarian clubs will give the name of a sponsor to their stadium? Do you expect the matter of 'Naming rights’'to become a more common fact?

In general, the naming of stadiums after a sponsor is a major part of the revenue stream and therefore highly essential in the whole business plan. Given that naming right sponsorships are quite new in the Hungarian market, we are absolutely convinced that there will be a general upscale of naming right sponsorships in the near future. Especially after the opening of the new stadiums in Budapest (Groupama Aréna) and Debrecen, we expect a significant ongoing stadium development including naming right sponsorships of the venues itself in Hungary and in Eastern Europe in generally. The Groupama Aréna will definitely be considered as a forerunner stadium in the Hungarian market.

Why do you think this is a plus to do this?

  • For a company?

The stadium naming right sponsorship in particular is a highly valuable communication tool, which gives a sponsor the possibility to link its company name directly to a new sport & entertainment venue. As with the Groupama Aréna it completely covers the new name & design of the venue itself and achieves a positive direct image transfer with high awareness and multiple contact figures. As naming partner of the stadium, Groupama is also the partner of the most traditional club in Hungary playing regularly in the stadium, thus enabling Groupama to be part of a success team achieving a number of mutual advantages in advertising and promotion e.g. autograph sessions with players, youth campaigns etcetera.

  • For a club?

Vice versa, a football club will also benefit from a strong and experienced economic partner. In the case of Groupama it was and is an already existing long-term partnership which goes far beyond the pure branding as Groupama is also the partner for direct product support e.g. insurances for the stadium infrastructure, players and officials.
 

How did you come to cooperate with Ferencvárosi TC?

Based on our strong presence in France and Germany, we are proactively looking for new market opportunities in emerging markets. Lagardère Unlimited Stadium Solutions’ aim is to become a leading worldwide sport venue operator and FTC and their newly build Groupama Aréna fits perfectly in this strategy and in our portfolio of rights. Therefore we set-up a long-term operation and marketing agreement with FTC whose professional football team is constantly playing in the Groupama Aréna  and so we highly appreciate the current partnership with the most successful and traditional football club in Hungary.

If you had to make up the balance after all, what would you do different? What were your main difficulties?

In general it is always the best to step into a stadium project as operator as early as possible. After the closing of our agreement with FTC we had a very tight time schedule until the opening of the stadium on the 10th of August, which was a challenge for all parties involved. Therefore all operational issues had to be implemented in a very short period of time and it is obvious that more time would have been helpful in many aspects. Nevertheless the club and we as operator are very satisfied with the current development up to now and we are convinced that we have fine-tuned most of the issues which are normal in a transfer period from construction to daily operation. All in all it is certainly too early to draw a final conclusion, but we have gained a lot of positive reactions from the audience, sponsors, the club and the fans.

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