TAG Heuer Jean-Claude Biver on football
The TAG Heuer CEO and President of the LVMH watchmaking division talks about football sponsorship and the way forward.
Less than a year ago I looked back on TAG Heuer’s vertigo-inducing ascent in the world of football sponsorship. It was clear that the brand’s CEO, Jean-Claude Biver, had spotted an opportunity that went far beyond Hublot’s involvement in the time. Not one to do things by halves, he proceeded to snap up every available opportunity at national level in the sport, ring-fencing the timekeeping and official watch labels at the major leagues. With the most recent announcement as official timekeeper of the French league, the list covers nearly all the major football leagues around the world, with the exception of South America, Africa and, ironically, Switzerland.
So is there still an opportunity to increase brand awareness for the La Chaux-de-Fonds company even further? I spoke to Jean-Claude Biver at a recent event at Old Trafford, where he was as popular as the players among autograph hunters, to find out.
Do you often get asked for autographs and to sign watch boxes?
Yes I do actually.
What does that mean to you emotionally?
It’s the same as when I see someone wearing one of our watches. It shows the concrete results of our work. Until we see our watches on people’s wrists, we have no measure of our success. This is a form of recognition that is touching and that makes me happy. And I think when that stops happening it will be time for me to retire.
You have your first year as a partner of Manchester United and as the Official Timekeeper of the English Premier League behind you. What are your impressions after this first season?
It’s extraordinary. What we have done with both is extraordinary and it is probably one of the best sponsorships that we have at TAG Heuer.
Is there anything left in football sponsorship for a watch brand or have you got everything covered?
I think between TAG Heuer and Hublot we have everything covered. We have just signed with the French league and the only one missing is the Italian league. Speaking patriotically, and theoretically, there is always FC Basel. I sometimes think that we are doing a lot abroad but we are not doing anything in Switzerland, yet we are based in Switzerland. Maybe one day we should do something there. And I say FC Basel because it is the only Swiss club that is known abroad.
So there is still potential in football for TAG Heuer?
Yes there is. There is the women’s football, which I think is underestimated. People are too used to football being a masculine environment and they think that women can’t play, but at the recent women’s Euro 2017 we saw a thrilling final between the Netherlands and Denmark. Women’s football is the future and we need to think about staking our claim here, too.
Over 150 years of watchmaking savoir-faire and technical innovation have made TAG Heuer a global reference in avant-garde sports watches. As it tracked the rise of sports demanding increasingly precise timekeeping, TAG Heuer continually developed its unique capabilities through a long-term vision of what watchmaking is today, and what it will look like tomorrow.Find out more >
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