South African rugby players can earn millions from this year by linking their names with commercial products and brand names.
In an effort to stop Springboks from heading overseas to earn big money, the South African Rugby Union (Saru) is ready to sacrifice its sole right to earn income from endorsements.
De Jongh Borchardt writes in Rapport that this means big names such as Bryan Habana, Schalk Burger, Victor Matfield and Jean de Villiers can earn significantly more through endorsements than they do through playing contracts.
A superstar such as Tiger Woods only earns a fraction of his huge income from prize money. He makes a fortune by linking his name to products and brands.
Twenty Springboks have just been offered contracts ranging from R300,000 to R500,000. The amounts are similar to last year, but 10 more Boks have been contracted this year.
However, the players will earn millions more after Saru agreed to partially release their hold on the players’ image rights. For that reason overseas contracts may no longer be that attractive.
There has been speculation that Habana will head overseas in July for a huge contract. However, he can now earn a similar amount in South Africa through his image rights.
South African Rugby Players Association chief executive Piet Heymans confirmed that big changes are on the cards.
“It will be wrong of me to comment before the consultation process has been finalised. We are excited, however, that it will be easier to convince players to stay because they will be able to earn additional income,” said Heymans.
The Bok contracts are in five categories ranging from R300,000 to R500,000. Players that are invited to training camps will receive up to R380,000 per year. Match fees and bonuses are around R80,000 per test.
If the Boks go through 2009 unbeaten, a top player that features in all 12 tests will earn more than R2-million from SA Rugby. That will exclude image rights, personal sponsors and provincial contracts.
In Europe top players earn up to R3-million per season and there can still be an exodus of players.
“We can’t possibly keep everybody, but at least we now have a contract that offers players more options,” said Heymans.
The “Dan Carter option”, where a player is contracted by SA Rugby but has a sabbatical of a few months overseas, may also be on the cards in South Africa. Schalk Burger is being lined up by English club Saracens and may miss next year’s Super14.
Matfield, Habana, Burger and John Smit are South Africa’s top earners among the contracted Boks.
Bakkies Botha, Jean de Villiers, Jaque Fourie, Pierre Spies, JP Pietersen, Ruan Pienaar, Frans Steyn, CJ van der Linde and Juan Smith had contracts in 2008 and have been offered renewals.
Fourie du Preez, who did not accept his contract offer last year, Danie Rossouw, Ricky Januarie, Adrian Jacobs, Bismarck du Plessis, Andries Bekker and Conrad Jantjes are also on the list.Tweet