Sarlat Rugby Team: The “Crazy Play” That’s Paying Off Big Time

Sarlat Rugby Team: The “Crazy Play” That’s Paying Off Big […]

Sarlat Rugby Team: The “Crazy Play” That’s Paying Off Big Time

With 118 years of rugby history lingering in the balance, Jean-Luc Menchon was worried. Covid-19 was sinking its teeth into Europe, and his French rugby team was bleeding Euros by the bucketful. As the club’s president, the entire French town of Sarlat depended on Menchon to keep their beloved rugby team’s head above the rising financial waters.

So Menchon did what anyone else would do. He confided in a friend.

That friend was Dom Einhorn, and what came out of that conversation was a surprise that Menchon did not imagine. Of course, Einhorn built his career on creating the unimaginable. This Alsatian native had spent the better part of three decades in the U.S., making a name for himself as a serial media and tech entrepreneur. Now, he wanted to work his magic on the club.

CASPN is Reborn: Say Hello to Sarlat Rugby, the 118-Year-Old Startup
Einhorn’s plan to revive Sarlat’s rugby team—known as CASPN at the time—seemed like insanity to many. The club was running out of time and money, but Dom wanted to do more than just shore up the financials. His vision was bigger: take the club to the Pro D2 league, three divisions higher than its current position.

Big as the vision was, this wasn’t Einhorn’s first rodeo. He knew that he could apply his experience in high-growth startups to anything, including a 118-year-old rugby team.

What followed was a master class in rapid rebranding. Now known as Sarlat Rugby, the A team got a new look and a digital upgrade with a new website (translated into four languages) and a suite of mobile apps. Einhorn also recruited a dedicated team of writers, photographers, and video creators to aid in the digital transformation of the esteemed local institution. And, rounding off this renewal process, the club gave birth to its new mascot, Benji the Sarlat Salamander.
France’s Fastest-Growing Sports Franchise Goes From Strength to Strength
Of course, Einhorn knew that a fresh new look and slick social media posts alone won’t make a pro team. But he knew there was value in making an early statement. It was a way of motivating everyone involved in the project. And, more importantly, it was about giving its growing fan base something to get excited about.

And sure enough, the fans did get excited.

With the initial rebrand grabbing early attention, it didn’t take long for the Sarlat Rugby Team project to build momentum. The team’s Facebook fan base grew from 1000 locals to 130,000 international followers. Businesses that had previously dropped their rugby sponsorship deal with the club were returning, prouder than ever to back the home team.

How the Amateur Rugby Underdogs Plan to Take on the Pros
Sarlat’s early momentum has only continued to build. It has secured valuable broadcast and streaming deals for the upcoming season. It has also continued in its branding efforts, including the launch of a range of rugby merchandise.

But the team knows it can’t rest on the laurels of its early success and has been putting serious effort into its professionalization strategy. It has been on a big recruitment drive in recent months, using its newfound credibility to secure contracts with high-profile international staff members and players.