MTN and the Springboks have renewed their partnership. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency
MTN and the Springboks have renewed their partnership. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency

Yellow light at end of Covid-19 tunnel as MTN renew Springboks sponsorship deal

By Ashfak Mohamed Time of article published Jun 2, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - After a disastrous 2020 where over R1.2 billion had to be cut from the local rugby fraternity’s expenses, SA Rugby would’ve breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday as MTN renewed their sponsorship of the world champion Springboks.

In addition, the telecommunications operator will also be the principal partner of the upcoming series between the Boks and the British and Irish Lions, which starts next month.

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The Covid-19 pandemic made 2020 a year to forget for the rugby world, with the original Super Rugby tournament having to be cancelled in late March.

The Springboks were also unable to play a single Test as a result of the coronavirus, which was a huge blow to the finances of not only SA Rugby, but every sphere of domestic rugby.

Even the youth weeks and Varsity Cup tournament was affected, with players, coaches and other staff taking significant salary cuts of up to 43 percent as well.

But things are looking up in 2021, with the Boks set to play their first Test since the 2019 Rugby World Cup final when they host Georgia on July 2.

MTN got on board with the Boks as a headline sponsor in 2017, and they have extended their latest deal to 2025.

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“Confirming the renewal of our partnership with MTN is massive for SA Rugby, and we are thrilled to continue on this road with them,” chief executive Jurie Roux said in a statement on Wednesday.

“When we named MTN as our new headline sponsor four years ago, we realised that it represented a pivotal moment for SA Rugby, and that welcoming a company of MTN’s size and reach was a significant moment for the sport.

“They have been a wonderfully supportive partner during a time of regeneration for the Springboks and the wider South African rugby fraternity, and have stuck with us through the pandemic. We are excited to continue to have MTN by our side.

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“For MTN, it was never only about having their logo on the front of the Springboks’ jerseys. They wanted a powerful partnership and that is exactly what we have established in the last four years.

“When they came on board, rugby was in a precarious position, but they understood where we were headed and what we wanted to achieve, to inspire the nation, and as one of South Africa’s success stories in the last three decades, MTN fully supported us in that.”

MTN added that supporters will also benefit from the sponsorship through a number of prizes and competitions, with an opportunity to win R100 000 every week.

“We found it fitting to continue to back the Springboks following a very successful period during which they became the world champions, warming the hearts of our nation,” said Mapula Bodibe, the chief consumer officer for MTN SA.

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“MTN has been a long-time supporter of South African sport, and the renewal of our sponsorship of the Springboks further entrenches our position as an ardent supporter of South Africa’s sporting ambitions.

“Sports fans have had to endure a frustrating year. Teams and their supporters were left with very little to cheer about due to COVID-19, but we are finally getting to the stage where our team is preparing to take to the field again and unite our nation as only they can.

“We are delighted to renew our headline sponsorship just ahead of the important Lions tour in July, providing the Springboks and South African rugby with the necessary support to grow well into the future, while also offering our fans great digital platforms to enjoy their love of the game, especially as they can’t be in the stadiums.”

@ashfakmohamed

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