South Africa Tourism has pulled the plug on a £42.5m sponsorship deal with English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur
Reports from South Africa in the last week stated that a potential three-year partnership was close to being agreed upon and just needed signing off from the government’s tourism committee.
South African Tourism’s acting chief executive officer Themba Khumalo insisted that any sponsorship would be about promoting South Africa and their image in the United Kingdom rather than purely being a deal around football.
“The money that is invested in tourism isn’t money that’s required for other needs in the country. There are departments that are dedicated to that,” Khumalo said.
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“Ours is to spend money to persuade travellers to come to South Africa to spend money. That is what we’re legislated to do. Sport and entertainment are audience aggregators, so people will pay money to have you access their product.
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“Our deal has nothing to do with football because ours is to access the viewers who watch the football to become part of the travelling market to South Africa.
“We are accessing the audience in the English Premier League so that they can come to South Africa to spend money here through tourism. This deal is not in isolation with other deals that we have in place because it’s not about football, it’s about audiences.”
Regardless, South Africa’s tourism committee have pulled the plug on the sponsorship.
Committee chairperson Thandi Mahambehlala said: “This deal, it ends here, today, now. Because there is everything wrong about the deal itself. There must be an investigation on this matter with immediate effect.“