Societe Generale and rugby: a long lasting partnership
Since the early 20th century, Societe Generale and rugby have shared close ties. In 1903, the bank's leaders decided to found an athletic association, the Club Athlétique de la Société Générale (CASG) with one guiding idea: sport would provide employees with physical relaxation after work, develop team spirit and give the business the chance to shine.
The institution's management has focused its investment on the rugby division, due to its appreciation for the sport's unique values of excellence, respect, trust and solidarity. The results of this investment have exceeded everyone's expectations.
Within two years, just as the world was about to go to war, the team had already advanced to the first Paris championships. Between World War I and World War II, CASG maintained its momentum and cemented its position as one of the best clubs in France. Indeed, it was so successful that the French Rugby Federation (FFR), which wanted to popularise the sport in places where it was not yet well-established, asked the club to play exhibition games outside the Paris region.
Societe Generale's commitment to the professional sport began with the French rugby union championship. Starting in the 1984-1985 season, Societe Generale and the French Rugby Federation (FFR) created a brand-new event: a game between the losers of the semi-finals of the French championship tournament. This match was held at Jean Bouin stadium as a prelude to the final championship match held at the nearby Parc des Princes in Paris. For eleven years, the Challenge Jean Bouin - Trophée Société Générale crowned the third-best team in France every season. This initial joint effort with the French Rugby Federation was followed by a partnership agreement that was signed in 1987.
Since 1987, which was also the year Societe Generale was privatised, its involvement with rugby has increased considerably, matching the company’s own development. Societe Generale intensified its commitment to the sport and became one of the first official partners of the FFR. In a climate of heightened competition and economic globalisation, Societe Generale chose rugby to embody its values as a strong, capable and competitive international bank.
In this respect, the sponsorship focuses on three major areas: mounting campaigns to encourage people to play the sport, maintaining Societe Generale's visual presence on the field and during televised events and, finally, promoting values shared by the world of rugby and Societe Generale: team spirit, ethics, advance preparation, innovation, discipline and performance.
Societe Generale has become a major international group but has remained a loyal partner with French rugby at all levels ranging from local rugby (featured at over 450 amateur clubs), professional teams and of course the national French team.
Societe Generale has supported Rugby Sevens since 2001 and now that it has become an Olympic sport, the Group will be able to raise awareness of the sport with new audiences, including students. Through its subsidiaries, the group also supports rugby in other parts of the world from Luxembourg to China.
In Asia, Societe Generale is sponsoring leading local rugby teams participating in premier tournaments in Hong Kong and Singapore. The Singapore Cricket Club as well as the Hong Kong Valley Rugby Football Club are supported by Societe Generale.
Worldwide Partner of the Rugby World Cup
Since the resounding success of the Rugby World Cup organised in France in 2007 Societe Generale has been a Worldwide Partner of the Rugby World Cup, which is held every four years. In 2015, the Rugby World Cup will be held in England.
All of this goes to show that Societe Generale has a firm commitment to a sport whose popularity is only continues to grow. Today, Societe Generale’s commitment to rugby is reflected in its slogan "Nothing is as strong as team spirit" and the Group can legitimately claim to be a worthy partner for all rugby lovers.