Four miles … you could not get any closer. This is the distance between this large stadium called Lille, but which is actually located in the territory of Villeneuve-d’Ascq, and the headquarters of the Decathlon, also located in this municipality in the northern metropolis. A closeness that decided the French giant in the design and distribution of sports equipment to give its name to this enclosure. At a discussion adopted on Friday night in the plenary of the elected representatives of the European metropolis Lille (Mel), the sports equipment will be called Decathlon Arena Stade Pierre Mauroy, from September next year within the framework of a partnership known as “naming”.
The sports facility with 50,000 seats – 35,000 in theater condition – was inaugurated in 2012 and took its name as the former mayor of Lille after his death seven years ago. He had been looking for a sponsor since the end, in 2018, of the funding of 2 million euros a year brought in since 2013 by Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe (1.4 million), the regional property development company Nacarat, Carrefour and the North Branch.
A five-year contract
According to the contract signed with Decathlon, which stipulates that the name Pierre Mauroy will remain in place, the sign of the Mulliez galaxy will pay 1.2 million euros a year for five years, a total of six million, a contract that can be extended. It’s smaller than in the previous contract, but Mel is happy to have finally found a sponsor, which seemed difficult with this restriction to keep the name “Stade Pierre Mauroy”.
With the 6.5 million in rent paid by Losc, the professional football club playing in Ligue 1, this once again puts the annual reimbursement costs below ten million euros, the line set out in the financing plan for departure during the construction of the stadium by Eiffage.
The company Sport Five, which Mel had mandated for this naming search, had found only five interested companies out of the 106 requested. These candidates had not caught Mel’s attention “in terms of the ethics and image we wanted to bring”, explained “Echos” its vice president, Eric Skyronka, in charge of sports and youth.
Decathlon, which was not part of it, applied as an outsider, and immediately won the community’s consent. “It’s a great symbol of success, a great entrepreneurial adventure whose story began in the big city with the opening of the first store in Englos in 1976,” comments Mel’s President Damien Castelain.
The Frenchmen’s favorite brand
“It is both a company dedicated to sports, but also one of the most beautiful brands in our metropolis, which is already a partner for many metropolitan clubs,” adds Eric Skyronka. “It is equally the largest sports brand in Europe and even in the world, and above all it represents both top-of-the-range, elite sports and what is available to families in terms of price, professional sports as well as amateur.” he adds. According to him, there was “no better naming”, recalling that Decathlon has been “the French’s favorite brand for four years with an exemplary CSR policy and a high employability”. The brand has a total turnover of 13.8 billion with more than 1,700 stores in 70 countries. In France, the company, which has a total of 324 stores (4.5 billion in turnover), employs 22,500 people, of which 5,200 in the small metropolitan area, with in addition to its world headquarters five of its nine design sites and several logistics sites.
This very first name partnership confirms for the brand “its desire to increase its influence for the most demanding athletes, in line with the recent partnerships entered into with Gaël Monfil’s or Cofidi’s cycling team”. Decathlon believes it is “now closer to the great moments of emotion and popular fervor that only high-level sports competitions allow to experience,” Arnaud Gauquelin, general manager of Decathlon France, said in a press release.
Linking its name to the stadium that hosts Losc was consistent for the group, including Kipsta, its collective sports brand, will supply the official balls for league 1 and 2 football for the 2022-2023 season, balls designed internally.
And thanks to international competitions, such as the Champions League, where Losc only participated in three matches this year, but which plays 19 league matches a year, the name of the Decathlon Arena Stade Pierre Mauroy will thus cross borders. Like it is this name that will appear on tickets to events such as handball competitions (men and women) as part of the Paris Olympics 2024, or Rugby World Cup, two prestigious events that will host Small Stadium .
Decathlon equipment supplier
Until now, Decathlon has favored the role of equipment supplier in its sponsorship policy, as it has done for Ligue 1 balls, to highlight its design skills and technical know-how. This is the second facet of this business with 1,700 outlets, including 324 in France. Last May, judoka Teddy Riner, several Olympic and world medal winners, joined the company as captain of the Team Athlete Decathlon.
Another recognized partnership is the one formed at the beginning of the year by Artengo with the French tennis player Gaël Monfils, who chose the racket from this passion brand from Decathlon after a blind test. In addition to the name of the player worn on the racket, this partnership includes clothing and footwear and in the long run the co-design of these co-branded products and is still sold at prices available to the general public, like balls in the league 1 .
Most passion brands work with top athletes, such as Tribord (sailing) with Yannick Bestaven and Van Rysel (cycling) with Justine Mathieux, Denis Chevrot and Paul Georgenthum.