Catalans Dragons are cashing in on their table-topping 2021 season with a huge increase in sponsorship and commercial support at Stade Gilbert Brutus.
Club President Bernard Guasch told local media in Perpignan that there had been an explosion of interest from businesses and supporters following the successes of last season.
Speaking to the city’s main newspaper L’Indépendant (a commercial partner of the Dragons), Guasch said, “It has been an unforgettable and magical time for this club.
“The weeks that we spent building up to the final, and the incredible semi-final carnival that we created here, have been the best that I have ever seen at the club.
“We have caught people’s imaginations and we are continuing to reap the benefits.
“While our season ticket sales haven’t soared, because people are still waiting to know the effects of the health crisis, our commercial activity has almost doubled.
“This is the direct fallout of reaching the Grand Final. We have already exceeded all previous commercial revenues and we will break every record next season.
“We have had around four million euros per season coming in from private sponsorships and already before the season starts, we are at five million. It really is an extraordinary performance.”
One element of the increased sponsorship is the announcement that Fluidra-Zodiac will become the club’s official major sponsor for the 2022 season.
Fluidra-Zodiac specialise in the sale and manufacture of swimming pool equipment throughout the world and will feature on the front of the home and away jerseys.
It is a first step into Rugby League for the leading French swimming pool equipment manufacturer, which is based in Perpignan.
The club has now officially released details of its home and away strips for 2022, with both carrying the name of the new sponsor.
And the prospect of a new television deal offering live coverage of Catalans and Toulouse Olympique is coming closer.
Guasch revealed: “We are working alongside Toulouse Olympique and the French Federation on a TV project. We will resume negotiations with beIN Sports in January and I hope we will be able to strike a deal to resume coverage of the game in France.
“At the moment, our club is recognised more abroad than it is at home on television.
“TV coverage in France is crucial for us and Toulouse Olympique and we will leave no stone unturned until we secure it.”
Any deal with French broadcasters would open the door for more live screening of games in the UK as Sky Sports would pick up the coverage from Perpignan and Toulouse and broadcast it for British viewers.
Meanwhile, the Mayor of Perpignan is continuing to encourage both codes of rugby to come together in the city with an historic ground-sharing arrangement.
The leader of the city council, Louis Aliot, said, “I will try to use persuasion and not a bulldozer,” to encourage professional rugby union and Rugby League to share facilities.
Catalans Dragons have a rolling lease and plans to extend and develop at Stade Gilbert Brutus but the council would like them to move in with rugby union neighbours USAP at the nearby Stade Aimé Giral to share facilities and costs, making way for a professional football team to take over at the Brutus. Both stadia are owned by the local authority.
Dragons’ President Guasch said, “What can be done at Aimé Giral is none of my business. As of today, we are continuing with our plans to develop, expand and improve at the Brutus.”
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