Amateurs – the days when men worked in an office, or at a construction site, made their way to the odd practice, turned up over a weekend and played some sport.
The game was played with passion, and so was the drinking afterwards. But hey, they were men.
Nowadays, it’s all about the boardroom and the bank balance. How much money can a franchise make from sponsors, gate receipts and advertising to pay for the best players?
It is the world over but not as ugly as it is in South Africa. It is ok for the man in the street to talk about the Lions, Bulls, Sharks, Stormers as well as the Cobras, Dolphins or Titans – but what gets me is the nanny-state of sponsors, and how they have to have their names written with gold ink at every press release, every match report and at every corner – just to generate some traction on their financial investment in a sport.
It was announced on Thursday that the Cape Cobras – and Newlands – have a new title sponsor. Newlands, and the Cobras, will now be known as the Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras and Six Gun Grill Newlands.
Six Gun Grill is Crown National Food Group’s best-selling seasoning, with MD John Morris making the announcement of a 3-year deal at Newlands – sorry, Six Gun Grill Newlands, on Thursday.
“It is a proud moment for our company, Crown National and our iconic Six Gun Grill brand to be associated with Western Province Cricket, Cape Cobras and Newlands Cricket Ground. Dare to be different,” Morris said.
Sport needs the cash – more so in the doldrums of South African cricket at the moment, with the likes of Standard Bank and Momentum having severed ties with Cricket South Africa (CSA) over management issues.
I understand the need for sponsors to make their hard-earned investment work – but isn’t that what billboards, advertising boards and stadium paraphernalia are for?
I always find it fascinating when sponsors come on board – the same words get said – just the naming is different.
“Newlands and Cape Cobras are both iconic brands in South Africa and world cricket and Six Gun Grill is an iconic brand in its own right, so it’s an absolutely perfect match. I thank the Six Gun Grill team for their faith in our brands during these tough times we live in and I look forward to this new and exciting era of the Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras playing at Six Gun Grill Newlands,” said David Brooke, Western Province Cricket Association and Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras Brand and Sponsorship Manager, at the launch event.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against sponsorship in sport – it is a vital cog in financial wheel that needs turning. Sponsorship, I think, plays a very important part in the development of the younger players – grass roots – because that is where the game is won and lost from a talent perspective.
But what gets me – and my fingers hurting – is when we are having to write reports about the Cape Cobras wining their match against the Dolphins – sorry, the Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras winning their match against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins – phew, got that out! Ow, now my fingers hurt.
The general rule – well, the way I have been taught, is that sponsors names are written the first time you mention them, then you can go back to the good old days of calling the team who they are – the Cape Cobras, Dolphins and Lions.
But I still think, having an opening line of “The Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras have won the toss and have elected to bat first against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins at Six Gun Grill Newlands on Sunday” is a painful way of starting a toss report!
I love sponsors, I really do, but please, keep your names to the advertising boards, stadium posters and fan paraphernalia – but please, leave us journos to use the team’s names as they should be – just Cape Cobras!
The Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras begin their 2020-21 season with a CSA 4-day Domestic Series match (see, no CSA sponsor!) against the Momentum Multiply Titans at Six Grill Gun Newlands on Monday 2 November 2020 – dammit, habit, I used the sponsors names!