As South Africa’s leading cellular network with 15 million customers connected, Vodacom is also connecting people through a shared passion for sport with the announcement of a five-year sponsorship of Western Province Rugby, the Stormers and Newlands Rugby Stadium.
At a function hosted by Vodacom in Cape Town on the 27th October 2005 to mark the official launch of a series of photographs of Western Province rugby players, Peter Matlare, Executive Director: Commercial at Vodacom SA, said the company would be sponsoring both the Stormers and Western Province teams, as well as Newlands Rugby Stadium from January 2006. The teams will now be known as the Vodacom Stormers and Vodacom Western Province.
“We also bought the naming rights for the stadium but will not be exercising this right. The stadium name will remain Newlands Rugby Stadium. Newlands belongs to its fans,” said Matlare.
“Sport sponsorships offer a unique opportunity for Vodacom to do something for our customers and to invest in our communities. As we have established our presence in the market, we are now able to turn our efforts towards those activities many of our customers are passionate about. And rugby is one of those,” says Matlare.
“Based on our shared values of leadership, caring and team spirit, this sponsorship is the ideal way for us to connect with our subscribers by supporting and sharing in their passion for the game.”
Vodacom has been a passionate supporter of rugby since the 1995 World Cup, with its sponsorship extending through all levels of the game. The company has reinforced its ownership of rugby in South Africa by being proud and long-term sponsors of the Vodacom Super 12 now 14, Vodacom Tri-Nations, Vodacom incoming tours, Vodacom Cup to name but a few. In addition, Vodacom are a major broadcast sponsor, bringing rugby into the homes of millions of South Africans and making the game accessible to supporters nationwide.
“The Vodacom Super 14 and Vodacom Tri-Nations are two of the most sought after rugby properties in the world,” says Matlare. “With both of these tournaments having a very high profile and recognised as symbols of high performance and excellence, these are values with which Vodacom is proud to be associated.”
Koos Basson, President of the WPRFU says funding such as Vodacom’s sponsorship is a critical component of WP Rugby’s success, and is a vital source of income for Western Province rugby – not only for the operation and administration of the senior teams but for the future growth and development of the game in the province at all levels.
“The future of rugby depends on the quality of young players from all communities coming through the ranks and the funds we can allocate to developing this younger talent,” says Basson. “It is in this area that the true value and impact of Vodacom’s sponsorship will be felt for many years to come. We are proud to welcome Vodacom to the ‘Province’ family.”
Schalk Burger, a Western Province contracted player says the teams are pleased with this new sponsorship.
“As great as it is to have the support of our loyal supporters, it’s as great to have a leading sponsor like Vodacom behind us,” he says. “It’s this kind of support that allows us to focus our energies on playing a winning game that does justice to our fans and to Vodacom.” In terms of the sponsorship, Vodacom will assume branding rights to WP representative teams, the Stormers and Newlands Rugby Stadium and have full rights to brand all player and supporter apparel, as well as access to players for appearance and publicity purposes.
“It’s an amalgamation of 4 great brands that join together to create a powerful force that builds loyalty,” says Matlare.
Proceeds from the sale of the black and white photographs of the players will go towards the development of the game in the region.