SPONSORSHIP RUNS AGROUND
Title sponsor Vitality and Netball World Cup agree to end sponsorship deal at 11th hour
Vitality, a subsidiary of Discovery, has withdrawn as title sponsor of the Netball World Cup set to be hosted in South Africa at the end of the month.
At the 11th hour, Vitality, the title sponsor of this year’s Netball World Cup, has withdrawn as sponsor of the tournament set to be hosted at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in South Africa for the first time ever from 28 July until 6 August 2023.
With the Netball World Cup less than three weeks away Vitality, a subsidiary of Discovery, said in a statement that they “were unable to reach a mutually agreeable partnership” with World Netball.
Discovery will continue to serve as sponsors to the South African national netball team as well as the England national netball team — serving as title sponsors for the latter.
“[I]t was our intention to be the title sponsor of the Netball World Cup 2023. Regrettably, following negotiation, we were unable to reach a mutually agreeable partnership,” the statement read.
“Discovery is therefore focusing its support for netball on the national teams in South Africa and England, namely the Proteas and the Vitality Roses.
“This is aligned to the update from World Netball and the Netball World Cup 2023 announcing Telkom and Spar as premium partners of the tournament sharing the major billing, with a roster of other major partners now coming on board.”
Vitality has been a long-time sponsor of netball in various capacities, including the Vitality Netball International Series.
“Discovery is committed to female sport in South Africa and abroad, and to netball, through its partnership with the South African national netball team, as the Official Wellness Partner to the Spar Proteas,” the statement continued.
“The sponsorship of the national side will see Discovery supporting the team’s overall well-being with health, wellness, financial and nutrition resources over the next three years.”
When Vitality was announced as title sponsor in February this year Firoze Bhorat, chief marketing officer of Vitality’s parent company Discovery Group had this to say:
“Given the inequity of sponsorship in sport, this is a deliberate indication of our support for women in sport.
“We believe that through the sport of netball, we will be able to inspire South African women and girls to live more active, healthier lives by playing the sport they love.”
Discovery will focus their attention on sponsoring legacy programmes in the country instead.
“As part of its commitment to netball, Discovery has developed and implemented a Netball Legacy programme to support netball at a grassroots level in South Africa (much like the one it has within football), with the aim of donating over 10,000 netballs to schools in need over the next year,” the statement read.
“The Netball Legacy programme will be at the forefront of our netball sponsorship priorities to ensure greater access to the sport and more opportunities within rural areas and disadvantaged communities across the country.
“We wish the organising committee, our national team and all teams competing in the Netball World Cup 2023 every success for the tournament.”
Nervy Netball SA
The build-up to the historic first-ever Netball World Cup in Africa has been turbulent.
Last month Netball South Africa president Cecilia Molokwane was the subject of a series of complaints by Afrikaans civil rights organisation Afriforum.
Molokwane could not be reached for comment at the time of writing this article.
The Netball World Cup trophy is currently on a country-wide tour. Netball South Africa representatives as well as “Letsatsi” the meerkat, the official mascot of the tournament, are still donning attire with the former title sponsor, Vitality’s, name. DM