Bulls, Sharks in Awards battle

2012-01-31 14:49
Super Rugby logo (File)
Cape Town - The Bulls and the Sharks are set to face off twice in two days in Johannesburg in February. The day before John Plumtree’s side visit Loftus Versfeld for their February 24 Super Rugby match-up, the two clubs will be rivals for one of the most prestigious prizes in the South African sport industry.

Both have been shortlisted in the coveted Sport Brand of the Year category at the Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards, to be staged at Emperors Palace on February 23. The category, which is sponsored by Repucom, is one of the most sought-after and fiercely contested of the Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards. The Bulls and the Sharks have been shortlisted for the prize alongside other leading brands from the world of sport, including SuperSport, Canterbury and Nike.

The Sport Brand of the Year category will not be the only one of interest to the two franchises. The campaigns shortlisted for Best Integrated Sport Marketing Campaign, sponsored by ProSport International, include ‘The Sharks Ultimate Rugby’, a campaign which helped the team drive an uplift in season ticket sales, a growth in Super Rugby ticket sales and a major increase in kids apparel sales versus 2010.

Meanwhile, the Blue Bulls have reached the final three teams in the mix for The Virgin Atlantic Best Business Performance by a Sport Team Award, alongside the Warriors and the Stormers. In 2011 the franchise’s commercial income grew significantly, with sponsorship, in-stadium advertising, merchandising and gate receipts all up on the previous year.

Nick Keller, the chairperson of the Sport Industry Group, said: “The Bulls and the Sharks are two of South Africa’s best-loved teams, but being shortlisted for a Virgin Atlantic Sport Industry Award is not just about popularity. Both have had to demonstrate genuine off-field progress and success to reach this stage, being shortlisted from a record number of entrants, and both will be hoping for big things on February 23. The fact that the two teams will be meeting on the pitch the next day just adds to the excitement.”

The likes of Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius, supermodel Kerry McGregor, golfer Thomas Aiken, surfer Roxy Louw, and former Bafana Bafana stars Lucas Radebe and Mark Fish are just a handful of the big names set to attend the Awards ceremony, with many more amazing personalities set to be announced. They will see the winners of each of the Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards categories - covering disciplines including marketing, PR, sponsorship, media, advertising, design and more - unveiled at the black-tie event, giving the winning agencies, brands, corporates, sports clubs and governing bodies well-deserved recognition and reward for their part in growing the ever-evolving South African sport industry.

The Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards ceremony has swiftly become established as the number one opportunity for the biggest players in the sport market to come together, network and celebrate their achievements amongst peers. This year, more than 130 entries to the Awards went through a rigorous two-stage judging process scrutinised at all times by the Official Independent Adjudicators, Deloitte, with some of the biggest and most respected names in sport involved as judges.


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