Johannesburg, South Africa – Netball South Africa’s (NSA’s) aim of joining the world’s top three netball nations took a major step forward on Wednesday with the announcement that long-time sponsor SPAR was renewing and increasing its sponsorship for the next three years.
“For the past 10 years, we have had a strong and close relationship with netball, which has become our flagship sponsorship,” said SPAR Director, Alison Zweers. “Sport provides an exciting platform on which to build our brand and women’s sport presents an excellent channel for this. A huge majority of our customers are women, and we believe we have a duty to support them in return. Netball provides us with a great opportunity to demonstrate our support for our customers. “Not many people know that Netball is South Africa’s second most popular sport (after soccer) and certainly the most popular sport amongst woman, who are important role players in the new South Africa.”
Zweers said the grocery giant was very excited by its sponsorship of netball. “Our increased sponsorship will include the Proteas, our country’s pride and joy, and a team we are so proud of,” she said. “We are also extending our sponsorship to the Under21 and Under19 squads, who are the future Proteas. It makes sense for us to take care of them as well, to ensure that netball continues to grow from strength to strength.”
She said SPAR would continue to sponsor the annual national championships, which played a major role in the development of the sport and also gave the sponsor an opportunity to reach out to netball regions across the country.
“Lastly, we have reached an agreement with NSA’s television partner Supersport as a broadcast sponsor of netball. This is important as we need to expose this beautiful game and our sponsorship not only in South Africa, but throughout Africa and the world,” said Zweers.
“We are delighted to renew our very strong relationship with SPAR,” said NSA President Mimi Mthethwa. “They have been with us through thick and thin, and have helped the Proteas to improve their world ranking. We are sixth in the world, and with their help we believe we can break into the top three. It is really an honour for us to have such a big household name supermarket involved with the most popular women’s sport in the country.”
Mthethwa said NSA was particularly pleased that the sponsorship was being extended to include the Under21 and Under19 squads. “They are the stars of the future and the players that could take us right to the top,” she said. “SPAR’s support will be invaluable. For instance, the Under21s are currently preparing for the world junior championships in Glasgow in August, and the added sponsorship will mean we can organise proper training camps so that they can go to the world championships and do us proud.”
The sponsorship, worth R20million in value, runs from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2015.