The South African Rugby Union has announced a new long-term deal with MTN to become the new main shirt sponsor for the Springboks.
The Boks have signed up the South African telecoms company to a three-year deal, which sees them replace another telecoms firm, Blue Label, who had their logo on the famous green jersey for the 2016 season.
Upon signing with Blue Label, the SARU indicated that they were considering selling sponsorship on a season or series-by-series basis, however the deal with MTN clearly represents a change in approach, and an adoption of a more traditional sponsorship model.
Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby, enthused about the MTN partnership at the launch of the deal in Pretoria this afternoon.
“We’re delighted to welcome MTN as our new headline Springbok sponsor,” said Roux. “They proudly carry millions of calls across the continent every day and we’re proud to carry their name on our jerseys.
“From the very first conversation we had with them they saw the power and potential of a partnership with the Springboks and SA Rugby way beyond placing a logo on a sportsman’s playing kit.
“They understand where we are as a sport and they want to partner with us in that journey of inspiring the nation. “It has been a tough couple of years from a financial perspective for SA Rugby – and our challenges certainly remain – but this partnership marks the crossing of a watershed for SA Rugby.”
Interestingly, the deal with MTN seems to have caused a delay in the release of the Springboks new alternate shirt – the striking red shirt was revealed by several retailers last week, but RSW understands that this shirt has been recalled.
It remains to be seen whether the recall is due to a simple sponsor addition, or if the new deal has caused something more dramatic to be considered by the SARU and ASICS remains to be seen – stay tuned for RSW for the news as it breaks.
The Springboks will wear their new home jersey, complete with MTN logo, for the three-test series against France, which begins tomorrow.