South African Tourism proposed a sponsorship deal with the English Premier League side, Tottenham Hotspur, worth £42,5 million (about R900m), over a three-year period beginning in 2023/24 and ending in 2026/27.
Through this deal, SA Tourism would receive kit branding, interview backdrop branding, match-day advertising, partnership announcements, training camps in South Africa, free tickets and stadium hospitality access. Although collaborations between tourism boards and sports organisations can be an effective way to promote a destination and attract travellers, this drew attention in the public discourse and sparked the debate that became a trending topic.
The University of Pretoria’s Department of Marketing Management contributed views to this discussion, presented by lecturer, Mafanedza Makumbi.
On 5 February 2023, Makumbi was a Zoom panel member guest featuring live on SABC News Channel 404, in its ‘Topical’ programme. During the discussion, he stated that it is not justifiable to invest R1bn on the UK market, which is in its maturity stage. He further argued the focus could be placed on growth markets with high potential, such as India and China. Click here to watch the discussion.
On 8 February, Makumbi was also featured on SABC 2 Tshivenda news, where he expanded on the discussion and explained the reasons why there is a public uproar and discomfort.
Recently, African countries such as Rwanda are showing increasing interest to partner with football clubs. Along with their partnership with Paris Saint-Germain (a France Ligue 1 team), Rwanda has a £10 million per year sponsorship deal with Arsenal, an English Premier League. As part of the deal, the message “Visit Rwanda” appears on players' shirt sleeves, on training equipment, and on advertising boards surrounding the pitch during home matches.