|Paul Vaughan- CEO, England Rugby 2015|
|Profile of the week|
Monday, 09 April 2012 09:26
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.
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.
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.