An American in Limoges to help the CSP grow

October 5, 2016 | France Bleu

The former president of Portland Trail Blazers is in Limoges. Now president of a consulting firm, it is he who set up the new ticket office of the CSP. But this is only the first step in his collaboration with the club limougeaud. His French partner answers our questions.

The founding president of G2 Strategic Marshell Glickmann in discussion with the president of Limoges CSP Frédréic Forte in front of the club headquarters rue Haute-Vienne in Limoges © Radio France – Jérôme Ostermann

Marshall Glickmann is not a basketball player but has been the president of an NBA franchise in Portland for 10 years. He is now the founding president of G2 Strategic, a consulting firm for many clubs in France, such as PSG, Lyon, Lille in football or Stade Français and La Rochelle in rugby. A firm that has also set up the new ticket office of the CSP. A first step in his accompaniment of the club. The rest is in preparation. Hence this first visit to Limoges with Antony Thiodet, associate consultant of G2 Strategic. The latter agreed to answer our questions. Interview.

France Bleu Limousin: What is your mission with Limoges CSP?

Antony Thiodet: Our mission at Limoges CSP is to support it in a process of redefining its product offerings for different audiences. In the first place, the public already present in the room and who is oh so important for this atmosphere so particular to Beaublanc, but which perhaps has unfulfilled needs today. But also and especially an audience that is not yet in the room and that could come to complete the first so that we reach a situation where we would close the wickets for all games to ensure a better atmosphere again and for the club to generate more revenue.

Your message is that there is a new generation coming and it is vital for any club to seduce her and make her want to come see the games …

There is indeed a new generation called Generation Y or Millenials, people born between 1985 and 1990, who are now entering the labor market and who therefore have abilities to consume. These people have quite different behaviors.And companies that do not adapt to these behaviors are destined to die. We saw it with the Uber phenomena for taxis or BlaBlaCar on transport. There are new offers emerging and if the clubs do not care, do not create new offers to attract these new audiences, these audiences will turn away from the clubs and go elsewhere.

But a sports club is not a business like any other. How a professional club like Limoges CSP can adapt to these new audiences?

To take a specific example, we know that these new generations like to share their experiences via internet and wifi. Having seen games in Beaublanc, it is difficult to connect via 4G because there is a concentration of people that makes the access to the mobile network is complicated. That’s one of the answers. Another answer is that this generation is not satisfied to make endless queues at half-time to the point of missing the beginning of the second period to fetch a sandwich that sometimes is not very good. They want the best and are not afraid to travel 100 or 200 kilometers to get it. You have to be careful about that. It is here that we encourage the Limoges CSP to advance, think and anticipate what will be the world of tomorrow, because very significant upheavals will take place in the field of sports leisure.

You talk about sports activities. Do you bring animations to Beaublanc beyond the basketball game? Small baskets for children for example?

Of course, that goes in that direction. Consideration of audiences who may not be fully satisfied, such as families with young children. For example, in Vitoria, Spain, there is a day care center. It is an initiative among others. We all know Crazy Dunkers, it contributes to the show in a room. After, all this must be sifted through what is possible or not in the context of Beaublanc. A room dating from 1981, with the needs of the time. We are 35 years later.

Here is the challenge. Attract new generations in an almost obsolete room, link the past and the future …

We are just starting our work. We did two months of audit to understand the situation. We do not come with ready-made solutions that blindly map in a particular club. Now, we are in the phase in which we will make recommendations, consider plans of action. There are some pockets of possible progressions, which can be envisaged immediately on Beaublanc. Then there may be developments taking place in the environment close to the room. Knowing that we, ultimately, we are only an agitator of ideas. While working with the nine other clubs that make up the consortium that was formed, six football clubs (including PSG, OL, Losc, Nancy, Metz), two rugby (Stade Français and La Rochelle) and another of basketball (Antibes). The idea is to put these clubs in a situation to discuss their best ideas, practices and experiences. In French sports, we all consider ourselves competitors.But we should bear in mind that we are only competitors in the field. Outside, we must all be supportive, help each other. This is how G2 Strategic wants to work with Frédéric Forte and his team.

How long can it last?

We will work at least two years with the club. But we hope that what we are going to propose will have an effect on a long cycle of 5 to 10 years. Especially to help the club cope with a context of declining public subsidies. We must compensate to see better, to find a little competitiveness at European level. That’s what people expect, especially in a city like Limoges that was still European champion in 1993. We have to succeed in bridging the gap that is widening with other countries, which are -be more pro-active and inventive than in France.

And how do you feel about Limoges CSP? Beaublanc is still an old room.Is it compatible?

There is an extraordinary base and obviously you should not upset, it is the base of historical fans behind the club. It smells very strong basketball in this room, and it must be kept. It’s a great base. Then there is a very good balance between supply and demand. Too big a stadium or too big a room, it’s not good. When there are too many places, somewhere the product gets worse. So there is a good base, a good balance in Limoges. But we will have to make small adjustments. And Frédéric Forte’s desire is to do it with people. We will therefore enter a phase in which we will be listening to audiences. Whether companies or individuals, to identify very precisely what limougeauds expect, what they want and need. There will be opinion polls, round tables. It will also be necessary to identify why some do not come to the room. These are the ones that need to be brought back today, to fill the last seats and to get additional income, which will allow to have a better team. And it is in this sense that we must build. The time when we imagined building a great team to have a great economy is over. First you have to develop a good economy, and the right team will follow.