Tottenham Hotspur will announce South Africa as their new sleeve sponsor for the 2023-24 season.
Details of South Africa’s investment in the club were first reported by South Africa’s The Daily Maverick news outlet yesterday, although it was not clear from the reports what the investment would be used for.
The Times of London has since confirmed the investment, saying the deal, worth around ZAR911m (£42m) over three years, would see South Africa replace current sponsor Cinch from next season.
The proposed deal, due to be finalized later this week, is a significant step forward over Tottenham’s £10m-a-year deal for Cinch, but it’s also hugely controversial in the country, which is suffering from the power shortages that have wreaked havoc on the South African economy.
President Cyril Ramaphosa appears to be considering declaring a state of emergency, making investing in a sports team a little odd in context, to say the least.
According to The Times, the proposal is deeply unpopular in the country but the government sees it as an opportunity to boost tourism at a time when the country is increasingly dependent on foreign visitors, especially as the country spirals deeper into economic issues.
The Times also noted that the Rwandan government had a similar sponsorship with Arsenal, which was similarly controversial at the time it went into effect. It’s not clear how much Rwanda’s sponsorship of Arsenal has helped improve tourism, or what metric might be used to measure that change.
As part of the sponsorship deal, the South African will not only be featured on the sleeves of Tottenham’s shirt, but also on billboards and promotional materials. The Times also reported that Tottenham would also hold regular training camps in South Africa, although no further details were given.