Boks in ground-breaking deal
Johannesburg - The South African Rugby Union (SARU) jointly announced a ground-breaking rights deal for Springbok players’ image rights with the Springbok Players’ Trust on Tuesday.
The new arrangement – the first of its kind in rugby – ends months of negotiation and crucially clarifies commercial access by SARU and sponsors to the image rights of Springbok players.
“The players ceded their image rights to a Players’ Trust at the start of the 2009, removing them from their Springbok contracts,” explained Dr Jan Marais, chairman of the Executive Council of SARU. “We then entered into a long negotiation about what we would pay them for using their image rights in executing our sponsorship deals.
“I’m happy to say that we have now come to an amicable arrangement that will benefit both parties by allowing SARU to honour its commercial commitments and by rewarding the players for using their images in advertisements and for making personal appearances.”
Eugene Henning, executive director of the commercial division of SARPA, who are managing agents of the Springbok Players’ Trust, said that the deal was the first of its kind in South African rugby. “The new arrangement creates a sophisticated and elegant landscape to govern the use of these rights in future and differentiate between the rugby playing services and the general commercial services rendered by a player” he said. “It is aligned with the best practices developed in other sporting codes nationally and internationally.
“The conclusion of the agreement underlines the commitment of both national players and SARU to continuously develop and promote professional rugby in South Africa. It was a robust and challenging negotiation process and the amount of commercial responsibility showed by the national players during this process should be recognised and applauded.”
Dr Marias said: “We have agreed upon a certain amount per appearance by players. Sponsors pay for an association with the Springbok team but there are faces that go with the team and we are now able to ensure that we can give them those faces.”
The players’ trust will also be paid a lump sum for the use of their images in sponsorship activations.
“This is a new departure and clarifies what was a complicated relationship based on assumption and expectation in the past,” said Andy Marinos, SARU manger of national teams.
“We’re now in the happy position that both the players and SARU know exactly where they stand and we can confidently deliver on the rights that have been granted to our commercial partners. The long-term expectation is that both the Union and players will benefit from the arrangement.”