Since time immemorial, the two teams have always attracted the biggest crowds and therefore the biggest sponsorships in the country.
Also Read: New sponsorship deal for Chiefs, Pirates The two teams were the first to receive R20-million a season when they signed with Vodacom in 1998, and they were the first to get R30-million a season. When it comes to sponsorship, they have always been league leaders. Big Brands want to associate with big brands; it’s business … nothing personal.
However, we have learnt over the years in that biggest does not necessarily mean the best. In the last 10 seasons South African league football has not, I repeat, not been dominated by the two biggest brands.
A quick glance at the statistics reveals that the League has been won three times by Sundowns, three times by SuperSport, three times by Pirates and twice by Chiefs. The two Tshwane teams won their trophies in succession; that is three league titles in a row. Is that not what domination is?
Outgoing SuperSport United Chief Executive Jose Ferreira then goes on a rant saying: “I think if South African football has been in trouble for the last 10 years [is because] of the money pumped into the likes of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. When I hear of a R1-billion sponsorship, I think we are all in serious trouble.”
Serious trouble, really? The League and its teams are attracting sponsors by the bucketload and all he could think of was that the league is in trouble?
Technically there are two teams in South Africa without a sponsor, Maritzburg United and Mamelodi Sundowns (who probably don’t need it). This represents a total turnaround of the situation in which South African football was once in before the first Vodacom/Chiefs/Pirates deal was signed.
Back then sponsorship was hard to come by and teams like Free State Stars and Ria Stars had to sell their status in the PSL because they could no longer survive without funding.
We have come a long way.
However, we are a long way from where we want to be; amongst the best leagues in the world in terms of play, not money. Football is played neither at the office nor at press conferences but on grass, at the stadium, on match-day.
If teams like SuperSport feel that sponsors are supporting one particular team they should do something about it from within. Why don’t they promote more players from the academy, buy players at a younger age and tie them to long-term contracts? Why don’t they market themselves more vigorously in their communities?
During these tough economic conditions, every business must remain shrewd and that does not exclude football teams looking to survive or thrive.
Siyavuya Madikane (Kick Off reader) Follow me on Twitter @siyamadikane