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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Friday, January 18th 2019

‘CVC partnership a great opportunity for rugby’ - Lansdown

Bristol Bears owner, Steve Lansdown believes Premiership Rugby’s landmark partnership with leading private equity and investment advisory firm CVC Capital Partners is a ‘great opportunity’ to grow the game.

The investment by CVC marks the start of a new era for English professional club rugby, and Lansdown says the deal will enable rugby to ‘fulfil its potential’ in the global market.

“It will help rugby become a worldwide sport, but on the back of that, commercialise it globally, increase the revenue for the Premiership Clubs and therefore allow us to put more money back into the infrastructure of the clubs, create better stadiums and better academies and improve the game generally,” he said in an exclusive interview with BBC Points West. 

“I don’t think rugby is fulfilling its potential. Over the last few years, it’s come a long way and it’s ready to move on to the next level.

“We’ve got some great players, some great talent and good TV coverage, but there’s more to be had and I think that’s where the CVC deal is so exciting because it allows us to look to a bigger field.

“The track record is there. Formula One is always quoted, but they (CVC) are a big investment house, they know how to drive business forwards, and we need it, we need to be galvanised, we need to be pushed, we need to be niggled along and taken into the 21st century.” 

Lansdown also praised the development and progress of Bristol Bears on and off the field over the past three years and has urged sports fans in the city to get behind the club as they push for future honours.

“We’ve got some great players, some great talent and good TV coverage, but there’s more to be had and I think that’s where the CVC deal is so exciting because it allows us to look to a bigger field."

Steve Lansdown, Owner

“You’ve seen plenty of change in the last three years – you’ve got a fantastic 27,000 all-seater modern stadium, you’ve got a top-class team on the pitch and one that’s improving all the time, you’ve got local players playing in that team, you’ve got young players coming through. 

“Come and see it, come and support it and be part of the family, because that’s what it’s all about. What will you see, hopefully, is success. You’ll see silverware on the shelves and be proud of being part of Bristol Bears and the Bristol sporting scene. 

“We’re looking at our fanbase and not just at someone who’s been watching the game for 40 or 50 years, we want the young child who’s coming for the first time, because it’s a family sport.

“So, it’s a question of making it more amenable to families and giving people more entertainment. Just look at what we do here at Ashton Gate on matchdays, it’s a carnival atmosphere, people come for the occasion as much as the game, it’s all part and parcel of it. “You’ve got to make your stadium a destination and you’ve got to make your sport something that people want to come and be a part of.

“If all rugby does that then you’re going to open up to new audiences, because it’s enjoyable to come along to.”


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