The Springboks will have a new sponsor in 2011 following a decision by Sasol not to extend their current arrangement beyond its expiry at the end of this year.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) and Sasol made a joint announcement on Tuesday after Sasol decided not to take up their option on a revised valuation proposed by SARU. SARU will now begin discussions with other potential sponsors.
“Sasol have been the main Springbok sponsors for the past six years and we have both taken huge value out of the relationship, and not just in financial terms,” said Oregan Hoskins, president of the South African Rugby Union.
“We’re sorry to be losing them but we understand their reasons and we’re now looking forward to forging a new relationship between the Springboks, South African rugby and another leading brand.”
Sasol entered into a six-year R150m deal with SARU at the end of 2004 to cover the Springboks, Springbok Sevens, SA ‘A’ and SA Under-20 teams.
“We’re very proud of our association with the Springboks and had certainly hoped our significantly increased offer would have found traction with the union”, said Sasol senior group executive, Lean Strauss.
“In the course of our association with the Springboks, we have seen the game extend across racial and cultural barriers. It has promoted nation building, united our staff around the world and has strengthened our brand both locally and abroad.”
During Sasol’s sponsorship the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup, Vodacom Tri-Nations and a series against the British & Irish Lions. The Springbok Sevens team also claimed the IRB World Series.
Interest in rugby continued to increase during their sponsorship with figures released in BMI’s Adult Sporttrack Report at the end of 2009 showing that rugby continued to outpace both soccer and cricket in terms of growing interest for a fifth year running.
SARU expects to announce the identity a new sponsor in due course