Vodacom has reached a unique agreement with the South African Rugby Union (SARU), in the true spirt of sportsmanship, that will see the company step away from its sponsorship rights of the Springbok team to allow SA Rugby to negotiate with other telecommunications companies.
Vodacom has been a proud and loyal sponsor of the Springboks since 1994 and held the exclusive rights in the telecommunication sector. During this period, South Africa’s national rugby team twice won the Rugby World Cup, the sport’s most prestigious tournament. This includes a dramatic 15-12 victory over New Zealand in 1995, considered to be the most momentous sporting occasion in South African history.
“Vodacom would have been within their legal rights to insist on exclusivity,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby. “On behalf of the SA Rugby Executive Council, I would like to express our gratitude to Vodacom, who have demonstrated what a tremendous partner they have been over the years by hearing our case and putting the needs of the national team first. We sincerely applaud them for their generosity and sportsmanship.”
“It is a gesture that gives us an opportunity to explore options in seeking a main Springbok sponsor in the mobile communications field and will significantly assist the sport in allowing us to begin to meet a current sponsorship shortfall,” adds Jurie.
Vodacom will continue to partner with SA Rugby as the naming rights sponsor of the Vodacom Super Rugby which they have held since 1998 and runs until at least the end of 2020.
Roux also thanked Vodacom for their longstanding support of the national team, saying that he looked forward to continue the relationship in Vodacom Super Rugby this year and beyond.
“Winning the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and 2007 will probably go down in history as two of the proudest moments during Vodacom’s sponsorship of the Springboks over the two decades,” said Nyimpini Mabunda, Vodacom’s Chief Officer: Consumer Business Unit.
“Through our commitment to Vodacom Super Rugby, we will continue to play an integral role in the success of the sport in South Africa. We wish the Springboks all the success in their future endeavours,”
SA Rugby will announce a new main Springbok sponsor in due course.