Cardiff Blues set for change in branding focus as part of commercial enhancement

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Cardiff Blues have confirmed that there is a planned change in branding as part of a drive to increase commercial income in a post-coronavirus world of CVC investment in rugby.

In a digital Q&A on Wednesday evening, where chairman Alun Jones, chief executive Richard Holland, director Andrew Williams, board advisor Nigel Walker and media manager Mike Brown fielded questions from supporters, there were a number of statements made regarding the future branding of the club.

Holland confirmed that “the executive have been challenged by the board to see how we can maximise our history and heritage. We are nearing the end of this and we would like to present ideas to our supporters, staff and players, get their buy-in before the board makes any final decision on how things might look moving forward.”

Although he stopped short of directly confronting whether or not this would include the abandoning of the ‘Blues’ moniker, as was suggested by Cardiff Athletic Club rugby section chairman Chris Norman last weekend, there was no shying away from the fact that the plan is to fully embrace the history and heritage of Cardiff Rugby in the branding and advertising of the professional side.

Jones expanded that “I did an interview after being appointed as chairman where I spoke about the size of the Cardiff brand in rugby terms and for the city globally, as well as our regional responsibilities, and I don’t see them as being mutually exclusive.

“What I mean by bringing Cardiff to the fore is bringing the history of Cardiff to the fore, and it goes hand-in-hand with doing the best we can commercially. Looking at Cardiff as a rugby brand, and as a capital city which is the commercial driver for Wales. The Cardiff name brings a lot of history, and is known around the world.”

In terms of how this would work alongside Cardiff RFC, Holland confirmed that “some months ago we were looking to position the RFC as a second team/Rags. From a rugby and heritage/brand perspective it’s the right thing to do.”

Elsewhere in the Q&A, Holland addressed the big question in Northern Hemisphere rugby generally over the past few weeks, confirming that he was in favour of a British and Irish League but that the short-term future was in the current league and the addition of four new South African teams would provide stiffer competition which “can only be a good thing”.

Jones confirmed that supporter representation was “very firmly on the agenda”, with Williams adding that they were looking into what is “the best model for us, whether that is a single supporter representative on the board or a forum that officially feeds into the board”.

In terms of player recruitment, Holland stated the primary aim was retention, but that “we are looking at Welsh players playing outside of Wales, and also exploring a couple of options of overseas players, particularly ball carrying positions”.

Finally, as is now customary at these Q&As, an update on the Arms Park lease came from Jones who confirmed negotiations were ongoing and it was just a case of getting talks with the Athletic Club over the line. Both sides were working hard towards the shared goal of getting the lease sorted.

Usually I would finish these blogs with a thanks to everyone for organising the Q&A and giving up their time to engage with supporters, and while that is the case, I finish with the infectious enthusiasm of Nigel Walker.

“The Board, the executive, the players and the coaches are going to make this one of the best teams in Europe, and if I didn’t think we were going to become one of the best teams in Europe I wouldn’t be giving up my time to give advice to the board in the way I am over the coming months and years.”

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