EPCR crown jewel events Host City bid launched


EPCRugby starts bidding process Image: Stade Vélodrome, Zairon, CC BY-SA 4.0

The European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) recently announced the launch of the Host City bidding processes for its 2025 and 2026 Finals weekends – weekend festivals which are widely regarded as the showpiece events for international club rugby.

‘EUROPEAN PROFESSIONAL CLUB RUGBY’ stated that following the landmark first season incorporating the leading South African clubs in its tournaments, the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup now see the top 42 clubs from seven nations (England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales, and South Africa) competing in the two-tier season-long competitions, setting the perfect stage for more than 2,000 players in Europe and South Africa to reignite classic rivalries and face new opposition in their bids for glory.

Lausanne (Switzerland)-based the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) is the governing body and organizer of the two major club rugby union tournaments: The Heineken Champions Cup and the EPCR Challenge Cup.

The European Rugby Champions Cup (known as the Heineken Champions Cup for sponsorship reasons) is an annual rugby union tournament organized by the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR). It is the top-tier competition for clubs who compete in a predominantly European league.

The EPCR Challenge Cup is an annual rugby union competition organized by the European Professional Club Rugby. It is the second-tier competition for clubs based in European leagues behind the European Rugby Champions Cup.

‘EUROPEAN PROFESSIONAL CLUB RUGBY’ further stated that the competitions see the best clubs, brightest stars and the most exciting players face one another and showcase some of the biggest names in the world of rugby.

The 2025 edition will represent 30 years of what was initially the Heineken Cup and offers the chance to celebrate the rich sporting legacy of the competition. The tournament runs from December through to May each season, with games taking place across eight weekends. This includes a pool stage comprising four matches, three knockout rounds and the Finals weekend.

The tournaments culminate in their respective Finals at a grand showpiece event in May every year. The Finals for both tournaments are held within the same City and played on the Friday evening (EPCR Challenge Cup) and Saturday afternoon (Heineken Champions Cup), delivering an impressive economic impact and affording substantial season-long media exposure.

Marseille (City in France) benefited to the tune of €53 million over the course of the Heineken Champions Cup and the EPCR Challenge Cup Finals weekend in 2022. Previous hosts have also included: Newcastle’s (UK) 52,305-capacity St James’ Park, Lyon’s (France) 59,186-capacity Groupama Stadium and Bilbao’s (Spain) 53,289-capacity San Mamés Stadium. This year’s edition will see four of the best clubs in Europe take centre stage at Dublin’s (Ireland) 51,700-capacity Aviva Stadium on May 19th-20th.

The EPCR has partnered with the London-based agency The Sports Consultancy (TSC) to run the bidding process. Widely recognized as leaders in Host City procurement for a range of major sports and entertainment properties, the TSC will be responsible for managing the process which aims to conclude by the end of this year.

London (UK)-based The Sports Consultancy delivers business solutions in sport to brands, Host Cities, rights holders, and venues. The company prides itself on its rounded experience of sport, straightforward results-orientated approach to consultancy and a totally uncompromising approach to professionalism.

Enthused François Vergnol, EPCR Marketing and Commercial Director, “We are very excited to be launching the bidding process for our 2025 and 2026 Finals weekends. These are the absolute pinnacle of international club rugby and, in addition to the prestige of hosting one of rugby’s finest events, hosting an EPCR Finals weekend brings many different benefits to a City. The EPCR strives to work closely with the partner Cities to deliver significant economic impact, sporting prestige and sustainability initiatives throughout the season.

Added Vergnol, “We are delighted once again to partner with The Sports Consultancy to find our Host Cities for the 2025 and 2026 Finals weekends. We have worked together for multiple editions and they understand what we look for in a host: A true partner who can help deliver our crown jewel event. We are looking forward to meeting potential hosts at our 2023 Finals weekend in Dublin – which promises to be a spectacular weekend of world-class rugby.”

Stated Sian Jenkins, Associate Director at TSC, “We are delighted to be working with the team at EPCR once again. Having studied the impact of the event, we know that this weekend of rugby really does deliver on every level and we are excited to work with potential hosts and see where the event will go next.”

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