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MAINTENANCE. TFC: “We have to be ready for success!” Subscribers, ticketing… Olivier Jaubert, general manager, reveals the progress of the club’s major projects at the dawn of the return to Ligue 1

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Thinking head of all the extra-sporting strategy of the TFC, Olivier Jaubert draws for La Dépêche the TFC of tomorrow, a few days before the resumption of the Championship, Sunday August 7 at the Stadium against Nice (1 p.m.).

Olivier Jaubert, you recently announced that you had reached the 9,000 subscriber mark. Where are we today ?

We know that we will reach or exceed 10,000 around the reception in Nice on August 7th. And it will continue to grow…

Is this a number you were expecting?

Our budgets were not made on these bases. Now appetite comes with eating, so is 10,000 enough for us? Not sure. Last year we had about 3,500 subscribers. The vast majority of them have taken their card back, and we have 65% of new subscribers. I believe that we have given new desire, or given desire, since populations are getting younger. An example: last year, we had only 5% of female subscribers, today 18%. We are attracting new audiences, but we are only at the beginning of the adventure.

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What average attendance are you aiming for this season?

We have a stadium with nearly 30,000 seats. The average fill in L1 last season was 68%. That would represent 18,400 for us. Today, we are working on average assumptions around 16,000. Then, we will have to increase this figure: Rome was not built in a day.

You have often said that you want to keep a popular stadium. Will this still be the case in the next seasons?

Sure. We must be one of the only clubs in France to practice nearly 50% of its stadium at 30 euros to welcome PSG (Wednesday August 31 Editor’s note). The two turns will be at 30 euros, this represents nearly 12,000 places if we remove the parking lots. Knowing that subscribers pay much less. We want a stadium where everyone can come, whatever their means, it’s very important. Football is not a sport reserved for an elite richer than another. All this keeping in mind that whatever the price we pay, everyone must be welcomed at the Stadium.

How to improve this reception?

We worked a lot on fluidity, on how to design the refreshments, we brought in local players: the Victor Hugo market, Michel Sarran, the Pierre restaurant will be present at the Stadium this season. We have worked in all areas so that people say to themselves: “we did well to come to the Stadium.” There will also be an animation of the Family stand launched around TFC-PSG, the animations of the student stand, with the Tolosa Students Club which will grow. Conviviality, pleasure, these are our watchwords. We have plenty of strengths, let’s use them.

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Is the forecourt one of these assets?

He will live, and not just twice a year. But there are constraints. The PPRI (Flood Risk Prevention Plan), which means that everything must be evacuated in two hours, limits us. But we are going to do things! From August 7.

“Is it useful to own your stadium? Not necessarily. Does becoming the exclusive operator of the stadium have any interest? Maybe.”

Did you feel this enthusiasm on the sale of jerseys?

At the end of last season, on the day of TFC-Nîmes, launch of the new home shirt, shop turnover was equal to shop turnover for the entire 19-20 season. So yes, there is enthusiasm! But it’s up to us to be good: we have to be ready for success. If you’re not ready, people come, see that you’re not responding, and they leave. We must be at the service of our supporters, pay attention to them. And we still have progress to make, we know that.

On what for example?

Product lines, reducing checkout times on game days, that sort of thing. All the points of encounter with the supporters must be thought out so that people say to themselves: “I am taken care of, they respect me.”

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The topography of the stadium also brings constraints? We felt a certain dissatisfaction with the parking spaces among some supporters.

It’s true. It so happens that the entire Nakache area is going to be grassed as part of the large Garonne park, so 400 places are disappearing. Vigipirate standards mean that we are not allowed to park on the Gabriel-Biénès alleys on match days, so 150 fewer places. We’ve gone from 1,500 parking spaces to 800. It’s up to us to be smart. We approached Tisseo to increase the frequency of trams and metros, to make remote car parks free, and we are in the process of exploiting plenty of trails. The Oncopole has a gigantic car park: can we put shuttles? We are going to put bike parking spaces, develop agreements with a carpooling company… The tracks exist.

Can we imagine that one day the TFC will own its stadium?

Is it useful to own your stadium? Not necessarily. Does becoming the exclusive operator of the stadium have any interest? Maybe. For the moment we have an agreement for the exploitation of the public domain which runs until 2029. There is a Rugby World Cup which is coming in 2023, the Metropolis has made commitments. So if something moves, it won’t be before 2024.

What model do you imagine for the Stadium?

What is certain is that Toulouse has enormous assets to become tomorrow a place of events, concerts, etc., because there is nothing as big as the Stadium 200 km away round. A stadium should only live 25 days a year, it’s heresy. There are solutions to be found, while not forgetting that the major activity of a stadium is sporting events.

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Where are you in your relations with the supporters?

We have regular exchanges, in particular with our SLO (supporter referent) in daily contact with the supporters. They are important players in the club. But everyone must play their role. We do not compromise on certain points. For example: anything that is illegal has no place in the stadium. It is very clear on the smoke bombs for example. This season, there will be extreme vigilance on the tranquility in the stadiums. And our supporter groups are very receptive to that.

Last season, there was an experiment on smoke bombs. Are you continuing to move forward on the subject?

We would like. But we need our groups of supporters to join us. On May 7 against Nîmes, we had planned another experience of this type, but they did not wish to participate. The calmer the platform, the more progress we can make. It is up to us to build this path together. I will dream that there is a shooting area framed in the stands, that the supporters can come in a protected way.

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Where are you on the naming of the Stadium?

We work. Let’s first finish our fundamentals: having all the partners we need at club level to support the TFC and all its teams. Then we will look for a title partner for the Stadium. We are lucky to have a stadium that has no other name than “Stadium de la Métropole de Toulouse”. We can quite easily associate a brand with it.

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