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Football | Absa Premiership

Tlou Segolela and Dominic Isaacs © Backpagepix

Huge cash injection for Bucs, Chiefs



Absa Premiership clubs Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs will see their stock increase by around R1 billion over the next five years following a renewal of their sponsorship with mobile operator Vodacom, it was announced on Thursday.

The game-changing deal, which is the longest running in SA football history, commences on 1 June 2012 and further cements a partnership that began in 1998 and has been renewed on four subsequent occasions. During the intervening years, the mutually beneficent relationship has played a significant role in elevating all three institutions to elite status.

Since 1998, Chiefs and Pirates have won a combined total of 21 major trophies, including five Premier Soccer League titles. Pirates are on the verge of collecting another Premiership title this weekend.

Not only have the two giants of SA football raked in the silverware over the period but they have also made exponential strides with regard to growing their fan bases and cultivating appreciation for their respective brands.

"We are grateful to have a partner of the calibre of Vodacom at our side. Without their involvement over the past 14 years we would never have reached the heights we have, both on the field of play as well as with regard to the close relationship we enjoy with our loyal fan base," said Amakhosi chairman Kaizer Motaung.

Pirates boss Dr Irvin Khoza also said, "The influence of Vodacom goes deeper than simply furnishing funds to our club. Since the start of our partnership, we have learned many things together along the way about professionalism, efficiency and the importance of always striving to maintain the highest standards possible. I am very happy to be able to continue this association, and look forward to even more joint success in the future."

Since the inception of the partnership, the bar has been raised on a number of game-changing occasions. The development and revitalisation of the Vodacom Challenge was able to afford both the teams the opportunity to play against some of the finest African and European clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and newly crowned English Premier League champions, Manchester City.

It offered an equally original experience to the supporters too, who were able to see their heroes pit their talents against world-class opposition. Then, in order to bring even more South Africans together it was decided to stage the Challenge at various venues around the country to connect people's passion for the game and these great teams even further through innovative products and offers from Vodacom as a result of this sponsorship.

"It is indeed a pleasure to announce the addition of a further five years to our partnership. As a reflection of our passion for the game and unwavering support for the fans, I am delighted to announce that this momentous deal will change the nature of sports sponsorship in South Africa," said Vodacom SA managing director Sipho Maseko.

As a further undertaking of assurance to supporters Vodacom have once again committed to presenting the Vodacom Challenge in 2012, with the teams, dates and venues to be announced in due course.

"We are no longer simply sponsoring a logo on a shirt - we are moving it up to the next level and changing the game by custom-creating a unique range of products and services exclusively for Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs that will not only benefit the supporters but the clubs themselves, in their race to maintain brand leadership.

"The synergy between the unifying abilities of both football and telecommunications has been a game-changer," he added. "It has completely revolutionised the football experience and the relationship between fan and club, bringing them closer together than ever before,” said Maseko.

Chiefs and Pirates will be connecting customers by bringing Vodacom's products and services closer to them. Supporters stand to reap the benefits of the improved contract directly when they attend the enhanced promotional events.

“Over the course of our partnership, the combined influence of these powerful brands has brought about game-changing advances to the game that have seen Chiefs and Pirates leave the competition behind both on and off the field, while Vodacom, with a subscribership of 33 million, is firmly established as the telecommunications powerhouse in sub-Saharan Africa," Maseko said.

In keeping with Vodacom's 'Power to you' pledge, fans will be thrilled to enjoy closer encounters with their favourite players at various pre-match gatherings, where an increased range of official club merchandise, as well as a wide range of Vodacom products and services, including new branded starter packs will be available for sale to the general public.

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