MTN replaces Vodacom as SA Rugby headline sponsor

SA Rugby, the governing body of rugby union in South Africa, has agreed a deal for MTN to become its new headline sponsor after rival telecommunications company Vodacom opted to step aside from the role.

MTN has signed a three-year deal and will now benefit from branding placement on the South Africa national team’s playing jerseys, starting tomorrow with the first game of a three-match Test series against France.

The company will also work with SA Rugby on a series of fan-focused activities and competitions, with further details to be announced in the coming weeks.

The agreement signals the end of a long-term arrangement with Vodacom, which began in 1994. Vodacom had held the exclusive rights in SA Rugby’s telecommunications sector.

However, Vodacom will continue to support SA Rugby by retaining its role as the title sponsor of the Super Rugby club competition. This deal runs through to the end of 2020.

Jurie Roux, chief executive of SA Rugby, said: “It has been a tough couple of years from a financial perspective for SA Rugby – and our challenges certainly remain – but this partnership marks the crossing of a watershed for SA Rugby.

“I would like to express our gratitude to Vodacom, who have demonstrated what a tremendous partner they have been over the years by hearing our case and putting the needs of the national team first.

“It is a gesture that gives us an opportunity to explore options in seeking a main Springbok sponsor in the mobile communications field and will significantly assist the sport in allowing us to begin to meet a current sponsorship shortfall.”