JOHANNESBURG — When the invitation was sent to the rugby media promising an important rugby announcement, many of the journos were hoping the new Bok coach would be announced. But when the venue was given as the AB InBev headquarters, the more likely announcement seemed to be a new sponsorship. And it was. After the spectacular collapse of Steinhoff, the Springbok Sevens team’s previous sponsor shortly before the second leg of the World Sevens Series in Cape Town, the Blitzboks were without a main sponsor for the tournaments in Sydney and Hamilton. With the start of the North American leg of the Series, South African Breweries has jumped at the chance of renewing a relationship with SA Rugby that goes back decades. Sports organisations might be slightly wary of establishing long-term relationships with alcohol advertisers, given the possibility of a ban on alcohol advertising by the government. But when the product contains no alcohol…? No problem. – David O’Sullivan
From SA Rugby
Castle Free, the latest product in a long range of established brands by SA Breweries, was on Wednesday revealed as the new headline sponsor of the Springboks Sevens, the Springbok Women’s Sevens and the SA Rugby Sevens Academy teams.
The sponsorship continues a long-standing relationship between the rugby body and SA Breweries, said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby, and it comes just at the right time for the thriving sevens programmes.
“The three-and-a-half year deal to back the Blitzboks and our sevens programme is in fact part of the continued partnership we have had with SA Breweries over many years,” said Roux.
“They have been involved in sponsoring other national teams such as the Springboks in the past and are currently the title sponsor to all of the Boks’ competitions and tours, such as the Castle Lager Incoming Series and the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.
“We are delighted to have Castle Free as the brand associated with our championship-winning Blitzboks.
“Castle Free was first launched at the HSBC Cape Town Sevens tournament last year, so the power and potential of a partnership with the Blitzboks and SA Rugby was a natural next step. The Springbok Sevens team is on a journey of inspiring the nation and SA Breweries have always done the same.”
SA Breweries welcomed the new partnership.
“We are delighted to partner with the Springbok Sevens team,” said Andrea Quaye, Vice President of Marketing at SA Breweries.
“Castle Free is a product that represents a new era in our own brewing standards while at the same time offering the fans the opportunity to make the kind of smart choices off the field as their favourite players do on it.”
Doreen Kosi, Vice President of Legal and Corporate Affairs, said that the sponsorship would extend a current commitment of SA Breweries: “This sponsorship is an extension of our ongoing commitment to ensure that no- and lower-alcohol beer products represent at least 20% of our organisation’s global beer volume by the end of 2025.”
- The Castle Free logo will appear on the front of the Springboks Sevens’ playing jerseys from this weekend’s HSBC USA Sevens in Las Vegas. The Springbok Women’s Sevens team will be wearing their new match jerseys in Hong Kong next month, where they will play in the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series qualifying tournament.