ABSA has pulled out of late stage negotiations to renew their sponsorship of the Springboks, which means that the Boks are on the hunt for a new sponsor. While applications will probably be a dime a dozen – who will most likely win the race?
ABSA has cited slow transformation as the main reason for their withdrawal and while I can’t argue with their logic, I question whether or not they’ve worked with SARU to make a difference at grass roots level, rather than trying to affect change at the very top.
But be that as it may, the Boks’ jersey is currently sponsorless.
Who will be the next sponsor? Will it be a brand with a known affiliation with sport or will it be one out of left field? In today’s post I’ll present a few of each and, with my day job marketing hat on, take a stab at the likelihood that they’ll pen a deal.
Let’s first look at brands with known sport affiliations:
Vodacom have been involved with sport for as long as I can remember. They sponsor the Super15, a couple of Super15 teams and some of the big names in the PSL.
But will they jump at this opportunity? I’d be surprised if they aren’t discussing it as we speak.
FNB have recently dipped their toes into the world of professional sport and have aimed their efforts at lesser-known up-and-coming codes i.e the Varsity Cup and Springbok 7s.
While sponsoring the Boks obviously comes with significant reach potential, I don’t think FNB will be the main sponsor. It just doesn’t feel like a good fit to me.
Due to the known effects of consuming massive amounts of fried chicken, KFC have also been sponsoring the odd sports team.
They are involved with mini cricket and a couple of other physical activity initiatives but to date they haven’t ventured too far into the world of rugby.
That said, they could be a bit of a dark horse and they might just spring a surprise on us.
4. Castle Lager
Wherever there is sport, braais and togetherness – you will find Castle Lager branding so the fit here is clear.
But will they sign themselves up for another term (they’ve previously sponsored the Boks) in the hot seat? I am sure they will consider it – it holds clear benefits – but I doubt it.
Nashua are prominent sponsors of the Cape Cobras and have a long standing affiliation with local cricket. That said, while I don’t doubt that they’d have the appetite for this endeavor, I’m not sure they’d have the budget. Rumour has it that ABSA’s sponsorship of the Boks was worth R100 million a year.
DHL international are involved with massive football clubs and F1 teams, and are the current sponsors of both the Stormers and Newlands rugby stadium.
The brand is clearly trying to do an association job with sport and I happen to think that they will consider this proposition strongly. Their logo is also yellow/gold – removing the need for massive treatments in order to work with the Bok green and gold.
Brands without known sport affiliations:
VW are apparently rumoured to be in line to replace BMW as the official carrier of the team, but do they fancy upgrading themselves to the hot seat? Perhaps.
We all know the brand has had its fair share of PR hiccups of late and a wholesome partnership with a well-loved sports team could perhaps be just what they need to get themselves back in our good books.
I read somewhere that Unilever are apparently very interested in getting involved with the Bok sponsorship and I think this makes sense. As a stable of brands, they would have access to a whole host of benefits in terms of players and endorsements.
That said, it would still feel like a surprising move.
With zero sporting affiliation this is almost impossible however, I just love the idea of Ronald McDonald assuming the role of team mascot and using his sunny disposition to lure our opponents into a false sense of comfort.
Although a long shot, this is my personal fave. Few of the brands on this list demonstrate the passion for sport that the boys at LeftBacks HQ do, and while raising the R100 million might prove a bit of a challenge – we’re not opposed to tweaking our brand colours at all.
There you have it – nine possible Springbok sponsorships. Which brand do you see taking over from ABSA? Have we left any off the list? Drop a comment or tweet us on @leftbacks.
Until next time, LeftBacks out!