Cell C renews Sharks sponsorship deal

This comes as the company faces financial woes.

Durban-based Super Rugby franchise, the Sharks, has renewed its major sponsorship deal with South African telecommunications company Cell C.

The new deal is effective immediately and will run for the next three years. Cell C has served as the Shark’s main sponsor since January 2014.

The sponsorship renewal comes just a day after news that Cell C defaulted on the payment of interest on a US$184-million (R2.7-billion) loan, which was due in December 2019, along with interest and capital repayments related to bilateral loan facilities with Nedbank, China Development Bank, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

“Currently, none of the bilateral loan facilities has been accelerated as note holders are aware and support that Cell C is committed to resolving the situation by agreeing to restructuring terms with its lenders while it also continues to work proactively with all stakeholders to improve its liquidity, debt profile and long-term competitiveness,” Cell C’s largest shareholder, Blue Label Telecoms, said in a statement.

As part of the new agreement, the team will continue to be officially known as the Cell C Sharks. Cell C will also benefit from continued brand exposure on the front of the team’s shirts.

A number of engagement opportunities will also be created as part of the deal as the Sharks look to use the agreement to drive key business objectives.

Cell C chief executive Douglas Craigie Stevenson (pictured) said: “Our sponsorship over the last six years has proven exceptionally valuable as a brand engagement platform for our customers as we endeavour to connect with them through their passion whilst driving key brand and business objectives.

“Sponsorships help us to drive brand awareness, sales, engage customers and to drive brand love. The partnership has been rewarding, not to mention the amazing strides the Cell C Sharks have made to truly embrace the country’s diversity and what that brings to the game of rugby.”