Am I the only one who finds it a little tiring when the Vodacom Bulls play the Vodacom Stormers in the Vodacom Super 14? Maybe I should rather change channels and watch Vodacom Free State take on Vodacom Western Province in the Vodacom Cup. In hindsight, a mistake, but at least the Vodacom Tri-Nations will soon be upon us, with hopefully better quality rugby. See where I’m going with this one, though?
I saw an article on www.sport24.com this morning indicating that the cellular giant is “weighing up its options” when it comes to ongoing sponsorship of everything that moves in SA rugby. With an expanded Super Rugby competition on the cards, not to mention a Four Nations competition including the Pumas from 2012 on, Vodacom may have to weigh up exactly how much more exposure and “name time” they actually need and whether, quite frankly, it makes sense for them to continue as title sponsors not only of virtually all the competitions, but also of a good percentage of the teams playing in those fixtures.
The two unions immediately at risk are Western Province and Free State, both of whose sponsorship deals expire at the end of the year. Both parties have been told they’re free to seek alternative sponsorship arrangements as Vodacom continues to weigh up their options. The other likely target is the Vodacom Cup, which nobody watches anyway (since the games are never televised) and is really unlikely to survive as a going concern in the once-more expanded rugby calendar we’ll face from 2011. That in itself is perhaps the subject of another post altogether, but an expanded Varsity Cup competition, with proper representation from each of the main rugby centres in the country (not just the ones that Francois Pienaar likes) might well prove far more popular as a second-tier competition.
But when it comes to removing some of the extraneous and frankly unnecessary “Vodacoms” from the nomenclature of the local rugby scene, I’m all for it. Variety is the spice of life, after all and I don’t see why we need to have one company monopolising the landscape to such an extent. I’d really like to see far more direct investment and involvement from the local business community in the success of these franchises, rather than “faceless” national conglomerates. What are the chances of finding a Bloemfontein-based business, though…?Tweet