MTN has confirmed that it intends to renew its headline sponsorship of the World Cup-winning Springboks.
Several media sources are reporting that renewal talks between the brand and the South African Rugby Union had already begun before the World Cup in Japan.
“We had already decided that we would be seeking to renew, whether the Boks had won, or not,” Jacqui O’Sullivan, Corporate Affairs Executive at MTN, told the City Press. “The reason being that we have seen how this sponsorship, from a national perspective and from an internal perspective, has absolutely brought people together. Even if we had not won it still would have been an amazing investment, because our people are learning from what they are seeing, from people like Rassie Erasmus who are world-class leaders, not just world-class coaches.”
SA Rugby’s General Manager of Communications, Andy Colquhoun, confirmed that “discussions were taking place” between the two organisations.
MTN’s previous three-year deal, from 2017 to 2019, was reportedly worth between R40m and R50m a year.
The deal included branding on the front of the Springbok jerseys in all competitive matches, except the Rugby World Cup.
MTN took over the rights in 2017 when South African rugby was in a slump both on and off the pitch.
The previous headline sponsor, Blue Label Telecoms, committed to a three-Test sponsorship in June 2016 and extended for one series of the Rugby Championship.
The first Blue Label Telecoms deal followed the exit of long-term sponsor, Absa, which had paid about R100m a year for the Springbok jersey rights in a five-year deal from 2011 to 2015.