Since 2020, the global rugby market has been witnessing a growth in participation, with key countries such as England, South Africa, France, New Zealand, Australia, Wales, and Ireland leading in the number of rugby practitioners and consistently ranking high in global standings. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic causing disruptions, the French Rugby Federation anticipated a recovery with a projected budget of 134.6 million euros in expenses against 135.9 million euros revenue for the 2022-2023 season. This economic projection highlights the sustainable fiscal approach adopted by the FFR, which has affiliations with around 2,000 rugby clubs across France.

France, in particular, saw a dip in male licensees between 2018 and 2021 but noted a steady increase in female participants with hopes that the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France will boost membership numbers further. Women's rugby is experiencing significant growth, with media coverage and sponsorship partnerships expanding, and youth rugby development initiatives like Baby Rugby contributing to a 16.90% increase in young rugby school members from 2019 to 2021. Geographically, rugby club concentration is highest in southwest France, with Occitania and New Aquitaine harboring the majority of amateur clubs.

The Dynamics of Rugby Participation in France: Trends and Key Figures

Rugby, a sport with a rich cultural heritage, has cemented its position as one of the most popular sports in France, boasting a significant number of dedicated practitioners and supporters. As of the 2021-2022 period, rugby ranks as the 8th most popular sport in the nation with approximately between 315,000 and 320,000 registered licenses, underscoring a vibrant demand for the sport within the country.

The global landscape of rugby players boasts over 10 million individuals, reinforcing the sport's growing popularity. Notably, a subset of these players, stretching across 128 national federations, come under the oversight of World Rugby. This international influence is further amplified by tournaments that draw in an increasing number of spectators, showcasing a staggering 300% growth in attendance over the last decade.

The momentum of this expansion is anticipated to maintain its upward trajectory, partly fueled by high-profile events such as the 6 Nations tournament and the upcoming 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. In the domain of gender distribution within rugby, men significantly outnumber women, representing 89% of the total playing populace.

However, there has been a commendable rise in women's participation as the growth rate of female licensees continues to outpace male counterparts, particularly among younger age groups and in rugby educational programs. This demographic shift forecasts a diversifying market with expanding inclusivity. Furthermore, amateur rugby encompasses a vast array of clubs that cater to six competitive divisions, including the Top 14, Pro D2, and regional levels.

The marketing and financial muscle of these clubs vary, with professional clubs in the Top 14 displaying larger budgets than their amateur counterparts. However, like the fluctuations within professional clubs, amateur club finances have also felt the impacts of economic pressures such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Youth development in rugby is experiencing a renaissance, with a rise in rugby school participation, and a discernible increase in women and supervisory staff members.

Main Players In The French Rugby Landscape: Fostering Talent and Promoting the Game

When discussing the main players in the French rugby market, several organizations stand out for their pivotal roles in governing, promoting, and developing the sport at both the amateur and professional levels.

  • French Rugby Federation (FFR):

The FFR is the cornerstone of French rugby, overseeing the management and regulation of the game throughout the country. As the national governing body, the FFR is responsible for organizing key competitions, implementing training programs, and supporting the growth and accessibility of rugby. Moreover, the federation is the custodian of the national teams, selecting and preparing squads that represent France on the international stage. With its broad reach, the FFR has a significant influence on the strategic direction and health of the sport within France.

  • World Rugby:

On the global stage, World Rugby sets the tone for the international rugby scene. It is the international federation that organizes world events like the Rugby World Cup and coordinates with regional associations to push the sport's boundaries. World Rugby's initiatives trickle down to national federations like the FFR, impacting the development programs and strategic focus at the country level.

  • Regional Leagues and Amateur Rugby Clubs:

The local heartbeats of French rugby are the regional leagues and, perhaps even more importantly, the amateur clubs scattered throughout the territories. These clubs not only provide platforms for players of all ages and genders to engage with the sport but are also the breeding grounds for future talent. They are in charge of local tournaments, and player development and play a vital role in ingraining rugby into the fabric of local communities, particularly in the rugby hotbeds of Occitania and New Aquitaine.

  • Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR):

This institution is the face of professional rugby clubs, representing their interests and ensuring that professional play keeps evolving and maintaining high standards. Even though the LNR's domain is professional sports, its influence has ripple effects on the amateur level through shared best practices and resources.

  • Fédération Française des Clubs de Rugby (FFCR):

Acting as an umbrella for amateur clubs, the FFCR is another key player advocating for the interests of these essential stakeholders in the French rugby landscape. Their work ensures that clubs across the country have the support they need to foster the next generation of rugby talent and to uphold the rich traditions of the game.

  • Ministry of Sports and Regional and Departmental Councils:

These government entities play more of a facilitative role.

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of the study

Rugby clubs allow players holding a license renewed annually to play rugby by forming teams, according to their age and gender, with several training sessions per week as well as matches in national, regional or departmental championships. They are generally present in cities or departments.

Rugby is the 8th most practiced sport in France in 2021-2022 with 317,866 licenses and other participation titles (ATP) registered by the French Rugby Federation, behind notably soccer, tennis, horse riding, judo and basketball. The most practiced sport is XV rugby.

For the 2022-2023 season, the French Rugby Federation, or the body that organizes and directs rugby activity in France, is forecasting a budget of 134.6 million euros in expenses for 135.9 million euros in revenue.

The French Rugby Federation (FFR) organizes and directs the activity of rugby in France and has 2,000 affiliated clubs in the country.

1.2 A growing global market

The global rugby market is structured by the world rugby federation, World Rugby, which groups the six regional rugby associations. Within these six continental associations, there are *** national federations with *** million rugby spectators and ** million players. [***]

Rugby is played in a variety of ways, including the traditional format of rugby union, ...

1.3 The national market for amateur rugby clubs

Amateur rugby in France is the foundation of French professional rugby. Amateur rugby plays an important role in the education of young players. The FFR offers special training and coaching programs for players under the age of **. According to the same report, approximately **,*** young players were involved in these programs during ...

2 Analysis of the demand

2.1 Who are the amateur rugby players

In France, there were *** *** rugby licensees in ****. They are a very large majority of men, **% are men and **% are women among rugby players.

Distribution of rugby players between men and women France, ****, in number of people Source: ****

Evolution of the number of members of the French Rugby Federation France, ****-****, in ...

2.2 The rise of women's ruby

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of women playing rugby in France, with a growth of over **% per year. This evolution can be seen over the last ** years.

Evolution of the number of women's rugby licenses in France France, **** - ****, in number of female licensees Source: ...

2.3 Youth Rugby Development

According to the latest annual report of the French Rugby Federation, the development of rugby among young people is on the rise, with a **.**% increase in the number of young rugby school members between **** and ****.There has also been an increase of more than **% in the number of women playing rugby, ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Amateur Rugby Industry Value Chain

Supply of equipment and infrastructure: This step involves the provision of rugby equipment such as balls, jerseys, shoes, and pads, as well as access to infrastructure to play the sport. Training and coaching: Amateur rugby clubs provide training and coaching for players and coaches, including clinics, training sessions, fitness programs, and ...

3.2 Institutional and governmental actors of amateur rugby in France

Institutional actors of amateur and professional rugby:

French Rugby Federation (***) : The FFR is the governing body of rugby in France. It is responsible for the management of amateur and professional rugby in the country, as well as the organization of competitions, training programs and development of the practice. It is also ...

3.3 Funding for amateur rugby clubs and regional rugby leagues

Amateur clubs, like professional clubs, have many sources of revenue and significant areas of expenditure:

Breakdown of operating revenues by club France, ****-****, in percentage Source: ECONOMY OF FRENCH RUGBY CLUB ACCOUNTS td {border: *px solid #cccccc;}br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}

Breakdown of operating expenses by club France, ****-****, in percent Source: ...

4 Analysis of the offer

4.1 Geographical distribution of rugby clubs

Concentration of rugby clubs: Rugby is mostly played in the southwest of France, where there is a high concentration of amateur rugby clubs. The regions of Occitania and New Aquitaine have a large number of amateur rugby clubs. There are also a large number of amateur rugby clubs in the Île-de-France, ...

4.2 The cost to clubs and rugby fans

Costs to Clubs: Amateur rugby clubs can face many costs, including the purchase of equipment, rental or maintenance of sports facilities, travel to games, coaches' salaries, and event organization. Depending on the size and level of the club, these costs can vary considerably.

Amateur rugby clubs may seek to diversify their ...

4.3 Diversification of practices

The diversification of rugby practices in France allows an ever wider public to be introduced to this sport and to practice it in conditions adapted to their needs and abilities. Amateur rugby clubs are able to offer a varied range of sports, thus meeting the needs of rugby players and ...

5 Regulation

5.1 General regulations

The regulation of amateur rugby in France is managed by the French Rugby Federation (***) and is subject to the rules laid down by World Rugby.

The rules of amateur rugby in France are defined by a set of regulations issued by the FFR, notably the General Regulations, the Sporting Regulations, the ...

6 Positioning of the actors

6.1 Segmentation of actors

  • ASM Clermont Auvergne

List of charts

  • Nombre de licenciés dans les sept principales nations du rugby mondial
  • Proportion de personnes licenciées de rugby par pays
  • Number of members of Rowing in France
  • Budget of the French Rugby Federation
  • Budget of the Top 14 Clubs, season 2022-2023
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Rugby: entrepreneurs are the backbone of ASM Clermont - 16/08/2023
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