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Volume 7 No. 149
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Hangin' With ... LDLC CEO Laurent De La Clergerie

Asvel Owner Tony Parker (L), LCDC CEO Laurent de la Clergerie (M) and Asvel Deputy President Gaetan Muller (R)

LAURENT DE LA CLERGERIE is the CEO of LDLC, a French electronics retailer that recently signed a 10-year naming sponsorship with Pro A basketball side Asvel. The club, which is owned by former French int’l and NBA Charlotte Hornets guard TONY PARKER, is now known as LDLC Asvel. As part of the deal, the team changed its logo and team colors, a move that received some resistance from supporters. SBD Global spoke with de la Clergerie about LDLC's role as a naming sponsor and what he expects out of the partnership.

On LDLC’s association with Asvel ...
Laurent de la Clergerie: We’ve been partners since 2012, when we were No. 2 on the club’s jersey before becoming the main sponsor in 2014. We were able to develop our notoriety in Lyon and Villeurbanne. There’s no doubting the local attention. At the start, we wanted to associate with a Lyon-based sports club because our headquarters is in [Lyon suburb] Limonest. I did not know basketball, but I found it to be a great sport, with a family atmosphere. ... It was the sport we needed. When Tony Parker gets involved, it makes it a huge incentive.

On expanding the brand beyond France ...
De la Clergerie: We can, but we want to first develop our reputation in France. For the moment, we have a concrete effect locally in Villeurbanne and Lyon. LDLC will be the only French team in EuroLeague and we hope that French fans will be behind it. The lasting effect could be less local.

On changing the team name and brand ...
De la Clergerie: Beyond the naming partnership, we wanted to pool our skills to see what each could bring to each other. Asvel players can visit us and speak with our sales representatives, we can offer our services to the club. ... We also have larger projects that we can accomplish, not just with basketball. ... We need to be creative. We will try to combine what we can combine, beyond basketball. On the logo, we asked internally if [a change] would be something people would like. The idea was to work together and have fun. Twelve graphic artists submitted 35 different logos. From there, we spoke with Tony to see which one we’d keep. The graphic designers also had constraints to respect, provided by Asvel executives. ... The reactions annoyed me because it was LDLC that was criticized, when, in fact, there were discussions between the club, the supporters, the mayor. ... The club did its best to put out the fire from the "super fans."

On if the club will consider going back to its old logo ...
De la Clergerie: I do not think so. The reality is that the LDLC colors are black and white, the colors the leaders chose are black and white. ... Asvel decided to go with the LDLC colors and we were in agreement. It was not my decision.

On activations included in the partnership ...
De la Clergerie: In the gym, [our logo] will continue to be on existing banners. There will be a day ... when there is an LDLC Asvel shop in Lyon. We could also sell jerseys in our stores, which would give the team a real national footprint outside of Villeurbanne. We also have esports basketball in mind. (LCDC already has an esports team that competes in League of Legends and Counter Strike: GO). 

Hangin' With runs every Friday in SBD Global.