South African bank drops sports sponsorships

November 22, 2010

South Africa’s Standard Bank dropped a bombshell for South African sports fans when it announced it was withdrawing from three sports sponsorships.

The bank, which is 20 percent owned by the Industrial Commercial Bank of China, said on Friday that the sponsorship deals with Cricket South Africa and Premier League soccer teams Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates would not be renewed in May 2011.

According to the South African Press Association (SAPA), the bank cited “changing business priorities” as part of an effort to cut costs.

Last month Standard Bank announced it was laying off 2,000 staff in South Africa and Britain.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) said it had started searching for a new sponsor after a 13-year partnership with the bank.

“It is clearly an economic decision on their part. We have set up a sponsorship panel to find a replacement,” CSA president Mtutuzeli Nyoka said.

“Standard Bank’s reasons for not renewing the contract are quite clear.” Kaizer Chiefs accepted the bank’s decision to terminate its decade-long partnership with the club.

“It is not a blow, as we will go out and find a new partner to replace the bank,” said manager Bobby Motaung.

Standard Bank was not, however, the main sponsor of Chiefs and Pirates.SAPA said that Cellphone company Vodacom pumped around 200 million rands (28.6 million U.S. dollars) to each club over three years.