After three weeks of Super Rugby I was really glad to see the Kings finally managed to get a sponsor on their jerseys when they took on the Chiefs last weekend.
Well done to the Avenge Group for sponsoring the bastard child of SA Rugby. Your brand will get the same, if not more exposure than Mr Price with the Sharks, Vodacom with the Bulls, Toyota with the Cheetahs and DHL with the Stormers. Remember everybody is watching to see if they will become the whipping boys of the competition and end 16th on the Super 15 logâ€¦
But I asked myself, why did it take so long for the Eastern Cape Franchise to secure a sponsor? Yes we all know SARU gave them a raw deal with regards to timing. The Currie Cup first division team only had a few months to secure players and prepare for the toughest rugby tournament in the world. But the Super 15 is an international competition and corporates should have been lining up to sponsor the team. Even the Lions with their dismal Super rugby record managed to secure a sponsor every season.
I donâ€™t know if they had sponsors lining up with deals and they just took their time deciding which one to go with. But what I do know is that sponsors have budgets and marketing campaigns for the teams they sponsor and this is usually finalised way before the first game of the season.
So this got me thinking, what if they didnâ€™t have sponsors lining up and then had to take the first one that came along. And what if that company was the â€œwrongâ€? one? â€œWrongâ€? in the sense that they did not fit with the team and with Rugby.
Letâ€™s say for example Always Pads was the only company willing to sponsor the Kings. Would they have accepted the backing and what marketing would they have done?
This is a few ideas I came up with.
Firstly, they would have had to change the name of the team from the Kings to the Queens.
Secondly, the tagline could have been â€œThe Southern Kings, we will Bleed for you. â€œ
Thirdly, what marketing wouldâ€™ve been done? An idea I had was to have a huge billboard outside the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium where players like Luke Waston, Bandiso Maku and Andries Strauss all stood with their arms folded and at the bottom it read. â€œHey, welcome to our Pad.â€?
Another billboard could have had Seargel Pietersen and Steven Sykes on it, with the tagline. â€œThe Kings â€˜Alwaysâ€™ win.â€?
Sponsors also like to get the stadium named after them, like Mr Price Kings Park and DHL Newlands. What if Always offered the Kings money to change the name of their home ground to the Nelson Mandela Bay stadipon.
But all of the above was averted when they accepted a deal from the Avenge Group. Good luck to the team when they take on the Crusaders on Saturday.
PS. I hope they use some of the sponsorâ€™s money to buy their coaches some laptops…
By Jody Hendricks