« I cannot reword »

l’essentiel Pas question d’évoquer la situation sportive du TFC avec Olivier Jaubert qui, malgré sa passion pour le football, préfère rester dans son rôle de directeur général. L’occasion de faire un point complet sur la situation économique du club et sur les projets futurs. Entretien long format.

Est-ce que les bons résultats sportifs de l’équipe de la saison précédente ont eu un impact sur les ventes de billets et de produits ?

It’s very simple. If we consider that the fiscal year starts in July, in our first quarter (from July to September), we have already achieved 50% of our sales targets for merchandise. This is because the first quarter is always strong due to jersey launches. But we know that there are also big periods coming up, especially Christmas, and that’s usually when we make 50% of our annual revenue. The enthusiasm we experienced last year remains unchanged.

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Avez-vous anticipé un tel début ou cela a-t-il été une surprise pour vous et votre équipe ?

I spent a long time in an American company that is a growth company. So yes, we projected growth (smile). And that applies to all areas of the club. We are here to make the cake grow. Otherwise, we will always have the same team and we will not be able to improve. Therefore, we need to seek more money – that’s our daily life – in terms of sponsorship, hospitality, ticket sales, and merchandising. These are the four sources of income, excluding TV rights and player transfers, which do not factor into our equation because we are not a trading club. That’s why we have also evolved in terms of structure with the arrival of a new deputy general manager in charge of revenue (Jennifer Darbas), as well as a ticketing specialist from the Rugby World Cup (Max Clavel) and a merchandising manager with 20 years of experience at Nike (Régis Rodas). We are changing dimensions because we have ambition for the club. We have called it « Ambition 2027 » and one of the major projects is to double the revenue over the next four years.

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Pouvez-vous nous fournir un aperçu général du projet « Ambition 2027 » ?

No, no, I cannot (smile).

How many jerseys have you sold since the beginning of the season?

Je ne l’ai pas en tête mais globalement, l’année dernière nous avons vendu 26 000 maillots sur toute la saison. Cette année cela part mieux, nous avons vendu 30 % de maillots en plus que la saison dernière sur la même période.

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Combien de personnes sont actuellement abonnées au TFC ?

Nous n’en vendrons plus aujourd’hui, nous sommes environ à 17 500 abonnés. Il faut se rappeler que nous étions 3 250 il y a deux ans puis 13 300 l’année dernière. On s’est dit « Waouh c’est un record ». On s’attendait à le battre mais 17 500 c’est incroyable.

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Since the beginning of the season, the Stadium has been consistently full (27,500 against Paris, 28,500 against Clermont, and 24,770 against Metz)… This is definitely another reason to be satisfied…

Last year, we had an average of 24,000 per season, and now we are above that. But what we must not forget is that, taking into account the subscribers, there were 11,000 people buying tickets last year. Among these people, a good portion subscribed. So this means that this season, we will still be seeking a new audience. We must keep going, we are far from being done.

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Is the goal for this season to maintain this level of attendance?

It is always very difficult because we still have a fan base that I would describe as « young ». Young obviously because we have the youngest audience in France, but also young in the sense that they are new supporters or supporters who are returning. For example, last season Strasbourg was fighting to avoid relegation but they had sold-out matches. If that were to happen to us, I don’t know if we would experience some loss in our audience. I hope not and I especially hope that it doesn’t happen to us. We are still dependent on sporting results and I think it will be the case for at least one or two seasons. But our goal is simple, we want to reach a point where we say, « This stadium is too small ». There is something else that is very important to us, and that is that we want to maintain a popular football. We don’t want to reach a point where we say, there is no more space in the Stadium so now we increase prices. That is not our purpose, nor our mentality, and it is not the purpose of this city. We are a city and a region where not everyone has huge means. We need to be able to adapt, especially when we have the youngest audience, which also means the least wealthy.

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Why have we been able to see promotional offers since the beginning of the season?

Okay, you saw it, we didn’t make an offer on PSG. But for example, yesterday we had a high percentage of students because we called it an integration weekend. It’s the return of students to the city, so the tickets were priced at 10€ for students. And out of the students who came yesterday, 23% of them didn’t come last year… The idea is to expand our base. We have set match revenue goals and yesterday against Metz, we exceeded them. We also made a back-to-school offer during the match against Clermont. On matches like that, if we don’t make an offer, we get 20,000 attendees instead of 29,000… Isn’t it better to make an offer? It’s better for the players, for the atmosphere – it was exceptional against Metz… Everyone benefits from it, so we will continue. But we don’t want the public to think that we do it because we need to. We do it because we want to. We have our audience, but instead of having 23,000, we prefer to have 28,000.

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How many tickets have you sold for the Toulouse match against LASK, which will take place on Thursday in the European Cup?

We have sold nearly 10,000 packages to attend the three Europa League matches. Including subscribers, we will already have over 29,000 for the match against LASK. There are only 1,200 seats left for sale. Hurry up because Thursday night it will be full. We need to hurry. There are only good seats left, but they are not expensive for European Cup matches.

Quelle signification cela a-t-il pour vous d’avoir ramené le club en Coupe d’Europe ?

(He reflects). In a way, we are fortunate to have significant markers that validate the work we do. In 2020-2021, we narrowly missed promotion, but we felt that something was happening. The second year, we achieved promotion and had sold-out shows starting in April. Last year in L1, everyone predicted hell with four relegations, but at no point were we afraid, no one was afraid because it was working. And on top of that, we won the Coupe de France, which led us to the Coupe d’Europe. Each year, we reward the work that has been done, and so far, it’s going in the right direction.

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Un jour inévitablement, cela va cesser…

Why? There are four trophies… (smile). Someone recently said, « If your dreams don’t make you cry, they’re not beautiful enough. » Our role is to turn that dream into reality. I’m not talking about the athlete, but everything else. And all the money we generate allows Damien and his teams to have the best resources. For example, when we build a new performance center at Daniel Faucher… We could settle for what we have, but if we want to take the club where we want to go, it’s not possible. We won’t ignore the joy we’ve experienced in the past three years, but we need to keep going.

What financial benefits do you expect from the Europa League?

We have budgeted it in detail but we don’t talk about it. We don’t provide any specific numbers, our numbers are reflected in practice.

Est-ce que cela représente une somme considérable pour le club ou est-ce que cela n’a finalement pas beaucoup d’importance ?

For a club like ours, let’s not forget, that has been deprived of its help for relegation and half of the CVC revenues (approximately 33 million euros in total), it is obviously significant. Overall, we all know roughly the amount of TV rights for the Europa League, which is around 5-6 million euros, and for us, it is certainly not negligible.

Quel est l’état d’avancement du projet du futur centre de performance dans l’ancien restaurant universitaire Daniel Faucher ?

We have submitted a building permit application that is currently being processed. If everything goes well, we will have the building permit before the end of the year. We will then start the process of consulting with companies for the execution. Our goal is to be in our premises by July 1, 2025…

C’est à proximité.

When we get there, we’ll say that it wasn’t so far away, yes (laughs). But ask the players what they think. If it’s still far away, we have to wait for three-quarters of a season and another complete season.

We could have expected more…

No, in the long run, there is a continuation: the ten-year project.

Pouvez-vous nous fournir davantage d’informations concernant ce projet précisément ?

This is a project for a comprehensive club center that unfortunately will be located outside of Ramier Island because there is not enough space. It is a project that we are working on, covering 25 hectares. However, due to the extensive approval process involving many people, we cannot provide further details at the moment. But it is part of our vision… I personally estimate it will take 10 years, but it might be completed in 6 years.

Vous vous focalisez donc simultanément sur le projet à court terme du centre de performance de Daniel Faucher et sur ce projet plus vaste à plus long terme ?

Yes, because it is another step.

Comment imaginez-vous le futur du TFC ?

He reflects on the fact that we must never forget that we do things differently from others (smiling). We have a comprehensive reflection on the organization of the entire non-sports domain of the club. Because we believe that our current organization is what I call an inherited organization and not a strategic organization linked to the club’s major objectives. We have ongoing reflections, quite a few exchanges… If we go where we want to go by the end of the year, we will be on a new model, with the supporter at the heart of the club in terms of strategic priority. We will wonder how we can ensure that our partners derive the greatest benefit from being a partner of the club. These are big questions that we must answer. We look at what is being done elsewhere, but we believe we have some brainpower within the offices to continue doing things differently. We know where we want to be in four or five years.

Where do you ideally see yourself in four or five years?

Je vais vous donner la phrase qui résume le tout : « Nous construisons le club qui fait vibrer l’Occitanie et inspire le football français ». Voilà, pourquoi nous sommes là. Aujourd’hui nous voulons changer de dimension, c’est le deuxième étage de la fusée.

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