As South Africa’s national rugby team prepares for the much-anticipated quarter-final match-up on Sunday evening, the country’s economic woes were one of the drivers that saw the team’s brand status slip one place on the Brand Finance Rugby 10 2023 rankings.
The Springboks have slipped one place in the Brand Finance Rugby 10 2023 ranking to sixth, while the All Blacks (brand value up 52% to $282 million) maintain their status as the world’s most valuable rugby brand.
The top five most valuable rugby brands in 2023 are:
- New Zealand, England (brand value up 71% to $264 million),
- France (brand value up 84% to $159 million),
- Ireland (brand value up 94% to $150 million), and
- Wales (brand value up 23% to $132 million).
Ahead of the kick-off of the Rugby World Cup 2023, there was a huge outcry in the country as fans of the sport could only watch the tournament on the pay TV service, DStv.
At the eleventh hour, however, the national broadcaster, the SABC, managed to secure some rights to broadcast parts of the tournament.
Business Report also broke the news of the Restaurant Association of South Africa (Rasa) inviting DStv management for urgent talks about the television group almost tripling the prices of its packages to the hospitality sector at the start of the Rugby World Cup 2023 (RWC 2023).
The Springbok (brand value up 44% to $117 million) brand has grown 44% since 2019, but the weakening rand has meant it has lost one place as Ireland leapfrogged the Boks to move from sixth to fourth.
The Springboks did, however, maintain their fourth place in the rankings of strongest brands, with a brand strength score of 81.4, up from below 80 in 2019.
The Springboks’ improved brand value, in addition to brand strength, is off the back of its 2019 World Cup win and current form.
Captained by Siya Kolisi, the national team brand is led by a highly valuable and inspiring role model who adds to the strength and value of the brand.
In addition to the 2019 Rugby World Cup win and current performances, brand value growth has been helped by the increase in sponsorship revenue.
Notwithstanding the ongoing commitment from MTN and First National Bank, a 2022 six-year deal with Nike as South Africa Rugby’s apparel provider has helped increase the brand value.
Actual commercial sales of the new jerseys do not impact the current value, as merchandise sales only begun in July 2023.
The limited quantities, high price and limited distribution partners of the new jerseys may, however, impact future brand valuations.
Springbok replica jerseys are the largest-selling national sports item in South Africa, and limited supply and high pricing may result in a significant secondary “knock-off” market that will impact SA Rugby’s commercial revenue.
The world’s most valuable rugby brand, the All Blacks, saw their brand value grow 52% to $282 million despite their on-pitch authority increasingly being challenged by other leading rugby nations.
This growth is attributed to robust revenues, particularly in sponsorship and merchandising, over the past four years.
The All Blacks also remain the world’s strongest rugby brand, although they have declined from a score of 94.9 in 2019 to under 89 in 2023.
The biggest winners in the 2023 rankings are France moving up to third, with their value jumping 84% to $159 million.
Not only has their value seen a significant increase, but their brand strength has grown significantly, buoyed by the excitement around the home World Cup and a team that’s playing exciting rugby.
The largest brand value growth has come from Ireland, who moved from sixth to fourth in the rankings.
Ireland’s success on the pitch in the past year, resulting in their number 1 world ranking, combined with Ireland Rugby’s strong revenue growth, has seen their brand value grow 94% to $150 million.
In terms of the following of rugby, Brand Finance research shows the highest following of rugby of any of the 40 major economies researched is in South Africa at 45%, double the rate of the next two markets, England and France (the research does not include the Pacific Islands or New Zealand).