Cell C are the new headline sponsor of The Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) announced on Wednesday.
The cellular network provider will sponsor Rugby’s Biggest Party, the South African leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series, for the next three years after agreeing terms in record time.
The tournament will bare Cell C’s name for the first time in a little under six weeks as bumper crowds are expected for a tournament that has moved to Saturday and Sunday play on December 8 and 9.
“We are delighted to welcome Cell C to the family of rugby sponsors for the first time,” said Jurie Roux, SARU CEO. “The Cell C NMB Sevens is a fun event presented in an innovative way and the fit with a fun and innovative company such as Cell C is perfect.
“They’ll bring new ideas to the event to further engage supporters and we’re looking forward to developing our partnership over the coming years. The NMB Sevens is a fantastic event and this is fantastic news for the tournament.”
Roux said the deal was concluded in record time: “What was impressive was the fact we were able to conclude the deal in less than a week,” he said. “It proved to us Cell C’s enthusiasm for getting involved with rugby and the NMB Sevens.”
“Sevens rugby is fast-paced, aggressive, young and fresh – all traits that sound much like Cell C. We are pleased to be a part of this young version of the game and to partner with SARU to bring Sevens Rugby to South Africans,” said Cell C Chief Commercial Officer, Jose dos Santos.
The deal was brokered by Megapro.
Chairman George Rautenbach said: "Megapro is proud of our involvement. As a company, we continue to build on our long-standing industry relationships with SARU and Corporate South Africa."
SARU is expecting a total attendance of 80 000 for the two-day event, which made its debut in Nelson Mandela Bay in 2011. Ticket prices have been fixed at last year’s prices for the event, meaning fans can watch a full day of Sevens action for as little as R80.
The NMB Sevens is the third leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series. Fiji won the first event in Australia at which the Springbok Sevens team finished third, after losing in the semi-finals to the eventual winners.
New Zealand are the defending NMB Sevens champions having beaten the Blitzbokke with a try on the final whistle in last year’s pulsating final.