Paul Vaughan- CEO, England Rugby 2015 Share PDF Print E-mail
Profile of the week
Appointed in January 2011, Paul Vaughan became the CEO of England Rugby 2015 Ltd., the delivery body for the Rugby World Cup in England in 2015.
Paul joined the Rugby Football Union in 2001 to become its first Commercial Director. His responsibilities encompassed both the generation of revenue for the game in England and for the marketing of the sport and it was in 2009 that he was part of the team that successfully bid to host the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Formerly a senior Vice President at Octagon Marketing, Paul was involved in a wide range of sports and clients, including a number of rugby campaigns.  These included the Lloyds TSB Six Nations, the Zurich Premiership and Scottish Provident’s Sponsorship of the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 1997.  He also played a key part in the successful commercial programme for the 2001 Lions tour to Australia.
Paul has also had client experience through a long career at Whitbread Plc, latterly as Marketing Operations Director, working on a range of projects such as The Whitbread Round the World Race, The Stella Artois Grass Court Championships, The Rugby World Cup 1995 (Heineken) and The Heineken European Cup.
By Edward Rangsi
As Chief Executive of England Rugby 2015, what are your main responsibilities and what are you expected to deliver?
My role is to deliver the Rugby World Cup on behalf of the Rugby Football Union. Essentially, what happens is that any successful union that wins the right to host a World Cup has to set up an organisation to run it. I have the responsibility of delivering a tournament that will be the biggest ever because if we look at things like the ticket sales for instance, in terms of number of spectators, we’re anticipating selling just under 3million tickets, whereas in France, which is the biggest state, its 2.4million.
Then, I also have to deliver all the net revenues that we need to do in order to deliver the £80 million guarantee because we have to pay for all of the cost of running the tournament, including getting all the teams here and looking after them. The only revenue I get is from ticketing because the television, sponsorship, merchandising, licensing and so on are always held back by the International Rugby Board.
After all the financial pieces, it’s also delivering the legacy. Of course, that’s the other terribly important point for the game, not only in England, but in wider Europe and the rest of the world. It’s a fairly substantial challenge, but we’re very confident we can do that.
What support do you get from the government when hosting a major sporting event like this?
The government have given us some help in terms of underwriting up to £25million of our guarantee on what is described as a ‘tapered basis’. Equally, they’re going to help us with things like security.
The bit we do need some help on and what we would very much like them to come to the party with is major events legislation. We’re hopeful that will appear in the parliamentary calendar at some point.
Have you received any assurances from Transport for London and the Mayor that they can guarantee that the Transport facilities will be improved, especially for those visiting Twickenham?
We’ve had some very good help from Boris Johnson and his team, together with Network Rail and South West Trains, because what has been agreed is that Twickenham station will be redeveloped and they’ve been very helpful in making sure that goes through. Our point of view, of course, is that it’s not just London. We’re all around the country so it’s not just Transport For London that we need, it’s everywhere. Transport For London is obviously quite important to us and I had the privilege of being invited as an observer to one of the Olympic transport meetings to see how that’s coordinated and to see how we might be able to effectively benefit from the learnings that they got from 2012.
We hear the HMRC always want to tax foreign stars who compete in the UK and that is often a problem, what is the situation here?
We have a slightly different arrangement here. Obviously, we don’t pay any money to any athlete whatsoever as an organisation. Each union has an arrangement with their own team and what they pay them. For instance, we have Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Fiji touring this year and nobody has responsible for their tax arrangements because they obviously pay tax in their own country on their earnings. So, it’s unlikely that we will be affected by anything like that.
The World Cup in New Zealand proved to be very successful, is there anything you can learn from them?
There’s a huge amount we can learn. They did do an incredibly good job. What they did was a fantastic job in terms of looking after every team that competed in the tournament. Their whole positioning effectively was a stadium of 4million and I’ve sort of expanded that into thinking it’s more actually a workforce of 4million as well because everywhere you went, everybody you met, they were all very supportive of the tournament, the teams and the participants within it. Also, the 133,000 visitors that they had were very well looked after and everybody had a good time whilst they were there.
What was particularly impressive was the volunteer programme, where they managed to build some very good fan parks. Are you looking to do something similar?
They did extremely well. Obviously, we’ve looked at that and we plan to take some of their learning as well. It was a fantastically well-done food and drink festival running around the sport to the extent where they actually developed a separate brand called ‘Taste of New Zealand’ and they were able to showcase lots of stuff through moving the dates of lots of festivals, that would have happened anyway, into that period of the World Cup. Anybody who was visiting could take advantage of going to one of these festivals and then, on top of that, they incorporated pieces of that into the bigger fan zones. So, in Auckland you could actually sample the wines, beers and food, which was very well done. We try to think of ways which we could that.
We obviously have different challenges here because we’ve got a population of 63million so it would be pretty difficult to get a stadium of 63million, but what we really like to do is to get the bulk of the country behind the tournament. I think we’re very fortunate that the English and the wider British public enjoy big events. I hope they will get behind it, watch games and come to games.
When the anticipated 350,000 inbound passengers are here, I hope they will have a good time as well and again, interact with people in pubs, clubs and wherever else they might be because the economic impact alone, what we’re anticipating is somewhere in the order of £2.4billion.
A lot of the stadia that will be used are football venues. Is there a concern about a potential clash of fixtures and how do you find a solution?
We’ve been working with the various league structures; The FA Premier League, The Football League and their fixture planners. What we’re trying to do is work around the issues in terms of making sure we’ve got windows that we can actually get in and get out of so it doesn’t affect either sport. We’re very mindful that a Premier League fixture is absolutely the imperative for The FAPL and their television arrangements and all the rest of it. What we’ve got to be careful is making sure that we don’t interfere with that. At the end of the day, if we can’t do that, we’ll have to move venue. It’s as simple as that.
What ticketing strategy do you have in place for 2015?
We’re going to develop our ticketing strategy through this year, but inevitably with 3million tickets to sell, we’ve got to make sure we get it right. In terms of making sure our stadiums are full, making sure we deliver the right revenues and at the end of the day making sure people actually feel that their not being ripped-off, we definitely intend to have tickets starting below £10 for some games. It’s really just trying to judge it on what New Zealand and France have done, together with how we think the market will be at the time. What’s worked very well in the past are things like stadium packs, where if you want to come to Twickenham to watch one particular match, then there’s a bundle you can buy to watch several matches.
With England being the home of rugby, would you consider that to be the marketing focal point when trying to sell tickets?
Well, if you take the New Zealand model of a stadium of 4million and population of 4million, that includes everybody from babies in arms to the elderly, in England we’ve got 9.1million people that follow the game of rugby in one way or another; they’ll either watch it on TV, they’ll play it, they’ll physically go to games or they’ll read about it. That number gives me an awful lot of confident that just in England it’s a very positive group to reach out to. On top of that, we’ve got Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy and wider Europe. We’re pretty confident that the market is sizeable to the degree where demand will certainly outstrip supply and inevitably we’re never going to satisfy demand because people will always want to come to the bigger games.
Are the broadcasters likely to use 3D and does that have an impact on your planning and commercial or ticketing strategies?
We’re not sure whether or not 3D will be in play for us in 2015, but Twickenham is quite used to holding a second production team and a lot of football grounds are used to 3D as well because of the way the FAPL have used it in the last year or so. It’s what else is coming down the track as to whether or not Super HD will be ready by then and those sorts of things. We’ll work with the broadcasters to make sure they get what they need.
As 2015 is still some way off, do you feel that you can anticipate likely changes in the worlds of commerce and/or technology and resulting demands, whatever they might be on the Rugby World Cup?
I think it’s not beyond possibility to start to thinking about what is going to happen. For instance, if I look at 2011 and particularly the digital area, there’s inevitably going to be continued growth on that scene. If we looked at mobile in 2011 as a simple number; the number of downloads to devices was over 3.2 million, which split quite heavily in terms of Apple, Blackberry, Android and Windows. So, we know that’s a growth area and we know it works extremely well, therefore we’ve got to make sure we make more use of it in order to ensure that consumers around the world actually get what they want, when they want it.
What legacy are you hoping to leave?
Our legacy is all about ‘human capital’. What, we’re trying to make sure is that the sport’s biggest shop window delivers enough impact and attraction for people to either take up playing the game for the first time or take it up if they’ve given up before. We want a lot more referees, more coaches, more volunteers and more spectators. If we can hit those broad objectives in terms of growing the numbers then that will be the greatest legacy we can leave behind. I don’t mean just for England either, from a tournament point of view, we want to make sure the UK benefit from it, and indeed Europe. For instance, Spain and Portugal have both got about 20,000 players so they’re quite a big force and if we can help them in quite a big way, then we will.
I guess you have to be neutral, but England to win it?
I’m absolutely neutral! There are 20 teams in this tournament!
Of course, as an Englishman, I’d love to see England win, but we can’t give them any advantage over any other side. What I’d really like to see is England continuing to be successful in the next three years in the build up to the tournament because that will help us enormously in terms of getting interest and obviously delivering our ticket sales as we get to 2015.

Paul VaughanAppointed in January 2011, Paul Vaughan became the CEO of England Rugby 2015 Ltd., the delivery body for the Rugby World Cup in England in 2015.

Paul joined the Rugby Football Union in 2001 to become its first Commercial Director. His responsibilities encompassed both the generation of revenue for the game in England and for the marketing of the sport and it was in 2009 that he was part of the team that successfully bid to host the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Formerly a senior Vice President at Octagon Marketing, Paul was involved in a wide range of sports and clients, including a number of rugby campaigns.  These included the Lloyds TSB Six Nations, the Zurich Premiership and Scottish Provident’s Sponsorship of the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 1997.  He also played a key part in the successful commercial programme for the 2001 Lions tour to Australia.

Paul has also had client experience through a long career at Whitbread Plc, latterly as Marketing Operations Director, working on a range of projects such as The Whitbread Round the World Race, The Stella Artois Grass Court Championships, The Rugby World Cup 1995 (Heineken) and The Heineken European Cup.

By Edward Rangsi


As Chief Executive of England Rugby 2015, what are your main responsibilities and what are you expected to deliver?

My role is to deliver the Rugby World Cup on behalf of the Rugby Football Union. Essentially, what happens is that any successful union that wins the right to host a World Cup has to set up an organisation to run it. I have the responsibility of delivering a tournament that will be the biggest ever because if we look at things like the ticket sales for instance, in terms of number of spectators, we’re anticipating selling just under 3million tickets, whereas in France, which is the biggest state, its 2.4million. 

Then, I also have to deliver all the net revenues that we need to do in order to deliver the £80 million guarantee because we have to pay for all of the cost of running the tournament, including getting all the teams here and looking after them. The only revenue I get is from ticketing because the television, sponsorship, merchandising, licensing and so on are always held back by the International Rugby Board. 

After all the financial pieces, it’s also delivering the legacy. Of course, that’s the other terribly important point for the game, not only in England, but in wider Europe and the rest of the world. It’s a fairly substantial challenge, but we’re very confident we can do that. 

 

What support do you get from the government when hosting a major sporting event like this?

The government have given us some help in terms of underwriting up to £25million of our guarantee on what is described as a ‘tapered basis’. Equally, they’re going to help us with things like security. 
The bit we do need some help on and what we would very much like them to come to the party with is major events legislation. We’re hopeful that will appear in the parliamentary calendar at some point.

 

Have you received any assurances from Transport for London and the Mayor that they can guarantee that the Transport facilities will be improved, especially for those visiting Twickenham?

We’ve had some very good help from Boris Johnson and his team, together with Network Rail and South West Trains, because what has been agreed is that Twickenham station will be redeveloped and they’ve been very helpful in making sure that goes through. Our point of view, of course, is that it’s not just London. We’re all around the country so it’s not just Transport For London that we need, it’s everywhere. Transport For London is obviously quite important to us and I had the privilege of being invited as an observer to one of the Olympic transport meetings to see how that’s coordinated and to see how we might be able to effectively benefit from the learnings that they got from 2012.

 

We hear the HMRC always want to tax foreign stars who compete in the UK and that is often a problem, what is the situation here?

We have a slightly different arrangement here. Obviously, we don’t pay any money to any athlete whatsoever as an organisation. Each union has an arrangement with their own team and what they pay them. For instance, we have Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Fiji touring this year and nobody has responsible for their tax arrangements because they obviously pay tax in their own country on their earnings. So, it’s unlikely that we will be affected by anything like that. 

 

The World Cup in New Zealand proved to be very successful, is there anything you can learn from them?

There’s a huge amount we can learn. They did do an incredibly good job. What they did was a fantastic job in terms of looking after every team that competed in the tournament. Their whole positioning effectively was a stadium of 4million and I’ve sort of expanded that into thinking it’s more actually a workforce of 4million as well because everywhere you went, everybody you met, they were all very supportive of the tournament, the teams and the participants within it. Also, the 133,000 visitors that they had were very well looked after and everybody had a good time whilst they were there. 

 

What was particularly impressive was the volunteer programme, where they managed to build some very good fan parks. Are you looking to do something similar? 

They did extremely well. Obviously, we’ve looked at that and we plan to take some of their learning as well. It was a fantastically well-done food and drink festival running around the sport to the extent where they actually developed a separate brand called ‘Taste of New Zealand’ and they were able to showcase lots of stuff through moving the dates of lots of festivals, that would have happened anyway, into that period of the World Cup. Anybody who was visiting could take advantage of going to one of these festivals and then, on top of that, they incorporated pieces of that into the bigger fan zones. So, in Auckland you could actually sample the wines, beers and food, which was very well done. We try to think of ways which we could that. 

We obviously have different challenges here because we’ve got a population of 63million so it would be pretty difficult to get a stadium of 63million, but what we really like to do is to get the bulk of the country behind the tournament. I think we’re very fortunate that the English and the wider British public enjoy big events. I hope they will get behind it, watch games and come to games. 

When the anticipated 350,000 inbound passengers are here, I hope they will have a good time as well and again, interact with people in pubs, clubs and wherever else they might be because the economic impact alone, what we’re anticipating is somewhere in the order of £2.4billion. 

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