Spurs mum on R1bn sponsorship deal

English Premier League (EPL) club Tottenham Hotspur are mum over their proposed and controversial R1-billion sponsorship deal with SA Tourism.

The deal had reached an advanced stage before details of the plan were put out in the public domain by Daily Maverick two weeks ago.

With Spurs tight-lipped about the deal, which created a wave of negative publicity for them, it looks like the deal is off the table, at least for now.


The tourism agency, mandated to promote the country domestically and internationally, was planning to fork out R1-billion to have the SA brand appear on the sleeve of the Spurs jersey. The suggested three-year deal, if it came to fruition, was going to start from 2024 to 2027.

Central African country Rwanda and EPL log leaders Arsenal have a similar arrangement, which claimed to have boosted tourism in that country. Arsenal have a “Visit Rwanda” branding on their shirt sleeve.

Approached for comment, Spurs media department declined to comment on the deal: “Unfortunately, we are unable to provide any guidance here as we do not comment on commercial matters.”

SA Tourism acting CEO Themba Khumalo was given a torrid time by parliament’s portfolio committee on tourism.

The committee said it had told Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu that “the R1-billion Tottenham Hotspur Football Club deal must be cancelled with immediate effect”. The committee also recommended that the money be reprioritised.

The idea behind this ground-breaking sponsorship was to use the EPL, which has billions of viewers worldwide, to market SA as a tourist destination of choice.


Khumalo explained that from the R1-billion, the return on investment would see South Africa making a whopping R88-billion in three years.

However, there were mixed reactions from the world of sports and the public. While most accepted it was a brilliant idea and best strategy to revive the tourism sector after Covid-19 pandemic difficulties, others remarked that the timing was not right to fork out so much money.

They cited loadshedding, unemployment, potholes and high crime statistics as some of the reasons the deal should be aborted. They went as far as mentioning the money should be returned to the national fiscus.

 

 

 

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