Bye-bye Vodacom Cup?

April 15, 2010
Posted by

It is certainly not good to hear that one of our biggest supporters of rugby, Vodacom, is planning to tone down their sponsorship.

JJ Harmse – Sport24

Sure, one can understand their reasons, as new regulatory obligations will significantly affect their income stream, and they are looking at other ways to stay involved in the game.

We have become used to having Vodacom around and one has to give them credit for the way they have gone about their business in doing so.

I can still recall the classic ad on TV of the young springbok lamb trying to get to its feet as part of their Vodacom Cup campaign, and I have bumped into many a Vodacom Supporters Group in the various places I have covered rugby.

With the news that they might also tone down their involvement with the teams they sponsor, I was wondering how those teams might react …

The Vodacom Bulls played great rugby in Hamilton, scored four tries and made history by beating the Chiefs in the Waikato stadium for the first time. Message to the sponsor? Think again!

The Vodacom Stormers did their name justice by blowing away the Blues in Auckland in a match of controlled rugby, mixed with spurts of flair. Message to the sponsor? Think again!

The Vodacom Cheetahs played the Brumbies in Canberra. They tackled poorly, could not hold on to the ball and to top it all, Kabamba Floors was banned for a spear tackle, which he followed up with some very poor language to the complaining Brumbies players. Message to the sponsors? Don’t think again!

I often wonder about our professional players and their ability to see the bigger picture. Sure, they are employed to play the game, first and foremost, but they must be aware of the bigger scheme of things.

I am not suggesting that the performance by the Bulls and Stormers last week was influenced by the news of Vodacom’s intentions at all, but it is hard to believe that they would be totally ignorant on the matter.

This is why I found the Cheetahs performance so disappointing. They certainly did nothing to try and remind the sponsor of why they got involved with them in the first place.

I know they have had a rotten run with injury as well, but they underperformed again. Surely it is time for the administrators to take stock and look what they need to do to be more successful at Super Rugby level. A change of coach could be a good start!

It will be interesting to see how SA Rugby handles the Vodacom issue. It is safe to presume that things will change with the Super15 coming into play and probable a Four Nations tournament starting in 2012. That is the top level though.

Will, for example, the Vodacom Cup survive and if so, in what format? The future and purpose of that competition has been debated on this forum before, with no clear answer.

The success of the Varsity Cup not only showed the insatiable appetite of the rugby public out there, but in a way proved that the Vodacom Cup has lost its support base.

One of the reasons why the Varsity Cup has flourished is because the Vodacom Cup was becoming stale. The addition of the Pampas XV and Namibia could point the way forward, and it might not be a bad idea to invite more African countries to play.

A second tier competition than runs concurrently with Super 15 including the likes of Kenya, Zimbabwe and Zambia playing against our smaller unions could be a win-win situation. Of course, more Argentinean teams could also be added, but that would be expensive.

Any new competition would certainly be welcomed, but the easiest option for SA Rugby would be to just find a new sponsor for the Vodacom Cup and continue with that competition.

SARU also need to find a solution to the Southern Kings problem, and that will be taking up a lot of their time. Simplest, then, would be to just continue with what they have. The Vodacom Cup is a well run competition and we have seen in the past how our administrators have battled to find the right format for the Currie Cup.

The bottom line is that a second tier competition is crucial to the development of the game. It might have a new name and hopefully a tweaked format, but we cannot allow for that type of competition to fall away.

It is way too important too many of the smaller unions, who in turn, are the feeders to the big five unions. Or big three, given that the Lions and Cheetahs have again failed to justify that billing.

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14 Comments

  1. avatar manvanstaal says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I cannot understand why they insist on having Vodacom (or whatever sponsor’s name) as part of the team name.

    The Aus/NZ teams don’t do it.

    In the US sports I’m pretty sure they don’t do it. And if there was one place you’d think they would, it would be the US of A.

    So why do we? :shake:

  2. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    The oly people that watch Vodacom Cup is the families of the players playing and the people rocking up early for the main game.

    I will certainly not play even R1 to see a game.

    I believe they should rather form regional teams like the S14.

    1. Bulls-PTA with Mapumalanga
    2. Lions-JHB with North West and Valke
    3. Cheetahs-with North VS and Griekwas
    4. WP- Boland.
    5. Kings-Border and EP and Natal

    Let them play home and away games with semi’s and Final.

    Take the game also to the smaller stadiums and play them all on another day than Friday or Saturday or do them even on Monday nights like the VC after they have finish.

  3. avatar fyndraai says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Reply to manvanstaal @ 4:31 pm:

    Teams always use the city or region name (eg. Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots). Local and regional tax payers get the name because they normally paid dearly to built the fancy new stadium.

    Also no big corporate logos on the uniforms. Fans prefer to pay for a shirt saying “Jordan” on the back, rather than “Mr Price” on the front.

    Corporate sponsors generally play a small role. Some years back selling them stadium naming rights were popular but having the stadium named for a corporation involved in scandal (Enron) turned out to be very bad.

    Teams are owned by groups of rich individuals with one very rich majority holder posing as the owner Income is from TV rights, licensing and ticket sales.

  4. avatar manvanstaal says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Reply to fyndraai @ 6:04 pm: Exactly. I find it very peculier from the Saffers.

    NZ don’t refer to their teams as BZN whoever.

    But that’s just me. :weed:

  5. avatar manvanstaal says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    At why do the SA press insist on calling them Vodacom/KFC?Ford whatever.

    The overseas press don’t call the Bulls the Vodacom Bulls. Just the Bulls. :jester:

  6. avatar manvanstaal says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    I do own a Stormers ‘jersey’ with Vodacom on the chest and a Bok jersey with Sasaol on the front. But only wear it when I’m watching rugby, and at the braai afterwards.

    But never out in public. Nothing to do with the sponsors. My wife thinks it’s kommin or something. :mrgreen:

  7. avatar Boertjie says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Reply to manvanstaal @ 7:34 pm:

    I think it’s “something”:
    GREED.
    And gatkruip by the media.

    I mean, Sahara Park Newlands.
    :1up:

    Coca-Cola Park or whatever.
    :1up:

    I make a point of NOT supporting
    this kind of sponsor
    when at all possible.

    Pepsi and brandy is the same
    as Coke and brandy.
    :wink:

  8. avatar manvanstaal says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Reply to Boertjie @ 7:51 pm: Belaglik daai stadium name. :whatever:

  9. avatar manvanstaal says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Wat maak sahara? Sand? :wink: :mrgreen:

  10. avatar Boertjie says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Reply to manvanstaal @ 8:07 pm:

    Ek dink dis iets wat
    jy in ‘n bottel koop
    en drink.

  11. avatar manvanstaal says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Reply to Boertjie @ 8:16 pm: :mrgreen: Lyk my hulle maak sommer alles. Nog nooit een van hulle produkte raak geloop nie.

  12. avatar manvanstaal says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    My wyn is koud.

    Hou die blink kant bo mense.

    Go Stormers!! :support:
    :wave: :wave: :wave:

  13. avatar DavidS says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Reply to manvanstaal @ 8:07 pm:

    Hulle is Charras enn hulle maak rekenaars

    Hulle sponsor omtrent al die krieket stadions julle kant ook

    Sahara Kingsmead
    Sahara Bewlands
    Sahara Kings park

    Wat ‘n fokop

  14. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    April 16th, 2010 at 2:45 am

    Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 4:47 pm:

    Why do punters keep including KZN with the Kings?

    Two totally different provinces separated by the Transkei?

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