Capgemini named Global Innovation Partner for World Rugby Sevens Series

02 February 2018 Consultancy.uk

Capgemini has a long history of supporting rugby, and has further strengthened its ties with the sport via a new multi-year partnership with the World Rugby Sevens Series. The deal will see Capgemini offer global support, as well as providing innovative new methods to help engage fans with insights into the sport.

Capgemini has been present in the world of rugby for 25 of its 50 years in business. The firm’s founder, the late Serge Kampf, was a lifelong rugby fan and sponsor of the sport, so naturally, alongside Capgemini’s support of domestic rugby clubs, the consultancy was also a sponsor of the 2007 Rugby World Cup, which took place in Kampf’s native France. Commenting on the parallels he saw between the sport and his business, Kampf once said, “Rugby is a team sport in which you can’t accomplish anything without the rest of your teammates, where the player who scores a try doesn’t think he’s king of the world because he knows it’s the result of teamwork, a shared drive and a common strategy.”

Now, Capgemini has strengthened its ties with the global game, by partnering with what the company described as “the most innovative form” of the sport. Rugby sevens is a more agile variant of rugby union, in which teams consist of seven players and play seven minute halves, instead of the traditional 15 players playing 40 minute halves. The game is popular at all levels, with amateur and club tournaments generally held in the summer months. Capgemini has become the official Global Innovation Partner of the Men’s and Women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, and the new multi-year partnership will also see the firm become a key sponsor of the sport’s separate Rugby World Cup Sevens event, taking place in July 2018, hosted for the first time in San Francisco.

The World Series has been held every season since the inaugural 1999–2000 season, and this year’s tour includes 10 Men’s Tournaments and 5 Women’s across the globe in which 16 and 12 national sevens teams respectively, compete for points at each round for the Men’s and Women’s overall Series. At present, the World Rugby Sevens Series Men’s rankings see New Zealand and South Africa as the two sides vying for supremacy, with England, Scotland and Wales all well off the pace. Meanwhile, in the Women’s standings, Australia top the table, followed by the USA.

In addition to its global support, Capgemini’s 2,000 global staff will also offer their expertise in the realms of innovation and technology to the series, working to enhance the fan experience for current and future spectators. During the series, it will be providing fans with greater access to deeper insights into the game of Rugby Sevens, the players and the teams. Examples of innovations Capgemini will apply to further bring the experience to life for the fans, will include the use of data and infographics to augment the tournament experience in stadiums, on television and social, as well as a web series that will combine Capgemini’s insights on the game, presented by a rugby expert, to share a deeper perspective on matches.

Paul Hermelin, Chairman and CEO of the Capgemini Group, said, “Our sponsorship of the Sevens Series combines perfectly our heritage with our global reach, in an innovative and inclusive way. It is the next chapter in the story of Capgemini’s support for rugby.”

Bill Beaumont, World Rugby Chairman, added, “We are delighted to be welcoming Capgemini to our growing and global commercial family for Men’s and Women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018.”

Capgemini are not the only consulting firm to have backed rugby in the past though. Big Four firm PwC have sponsored the Irish rugby union side for the past 12 years, having recently extended a sponsorship deal until 2020.

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Despite industry disruption televised sport still draws audiences

24 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Despite the disruption wrought on most areas of traditional broadcasting by streaming challengers, sports remains a major draw for audiences of television networks. This is particularly true of viewers who bet money on sporting events, with those that have skin in the game considerably more likely to follow the event on a television screen.

Arguably the true opiate of the masses, for centuries organised sports have been a major draw for hordes of fanatical spectators, from the grand coliseums of Ancient Rome to the more understated greens of local cricket grounds. The advent of television in the 20th century took this to a new level, allowing for widespread visual access to major sporting events, and sowing the seeds of a multi-billion industry in the process. Yet while watching sport remains a key pastime for many, changing consumer preferences and new technologies are affecting the traditional sport distribution channel of TV.

To better understand trends in the sporting broadcast market, Deloitte recently released an article titled ‘Does TV Sports have a Future?’ as part of its wider ‘Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Predictions 2019’ report into telecommunications trends. The conclusions in the piece are based on the firm’s own survey of 1,062 US-based respondents.

More men than women watch sport

Traditional television has in recent years begun to lose out to streaming and on demand services, resulting in a generation that is watching considerably less television. The shift in consumer sentiment has caused traditional TV companies consternation as well as shifts in business models. The average Millennial now watches 42% fewer minutes per week of TV in 2018 than they did in 2010. Yet not all areas of the traditional television market have been as hard hit by the shift, and sport is one of them. This contradicts previous studies which may have suggested that Millennials were abandoning ‘old’ media for their sport viewing.

One reason for this could well be sports betting, which means that many of the people watching the event are keen to see how their punt is faring, in play. According to Deloitte, 78% of male sport viewers, and 64% of their female counterparts would be more likely to tune in to a live event if they had bet on it.

The study found that sport gambling remains a key fixture in the gambling industry as a whole in the UK. In the United Kingdom in 2017, sports betting had £14 billion in turnover. In the four Nordic countries, meanwhile legal gambling of all kinds was an approximate €6 billion industry in 2015. In the US, meanwhile, the industry as a whole is worth around a quarter of a trillion dollars – with sports betting figuring at around 40% of that total. The industry is projected to see growth of 9% over the coming three years.

Betting on sports is associated with watching sports on TV for more than five hours on a typical weekday

However, while the gambling industry does indeed seem to have some impact on television engagement, it would be dangerous to overstate this as a positive, and such a conclusion might also put the cart before the horse. Deloitte’s study found that ‘super-superfans’ – those who watched more than five hours on a typical weekday – were more likely to gamble than average viewers.

Of those who watch more than five hours of sport per day, only 4% do not bet. Of those, 2% do not currently bet, or have never bet, respectively. Again, it could be asserted that these people are engaging with televised sport, and thus keeping the advertising-based industry afloat, due to the betting they participate in. However, it could equally be argued that they are exhibiting compulsive behaviour in spending such a large amount of time viewing sport in the first place – behaviour which would leave them as easy prey for gambling firms, who can now milk them for profit.

But where is all this set to lead? According author Duncan Stewart, the potential profitability of this model means it is likely to be exported from the UK in the coming years.

Steward concluded, “As a thought experiment, one can imagine a 30-year-old American man in the year 2025… watching a football game on the TV set, smartphone in hand. He can bet on the match at any point, modify his wager, buy back a losing wager, bet on the outcome of individual plays or individual stats such as the number of passing yards by the quarterback—all in real time, and all tailored to him. Ads could be served that are customised for him, informed by his betting and attention, and watching would have to be 100% live. The broadcaster or betting site could not only charge more for ads seen by such an involved viewer, but even have a share in (or own outright) the profits from the betting/video stream … at margins much higher than the usual for TV broadcasting. To an American, this sounds like science fiction, but in the United Kingdom, these solutions (or variations of them) are available today.”