It’s here: a new initiative to help the country’s top university talent develop and eventually run and compete with the top dogs (pun intended). The next chapter in the development of university sport as a breeding ground for future stars is set to kick off on 15 April 2013, when Varsity Sports’ athletics competition takes place in Stellenbosch, Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Envisioned as a platform to bridge the gap between school and professional sport, Varsity Sports is the result of a partnership between the country’s top universities and Advent Sport Entertainment and Media Pty Ltd (ASEM), which is set to continue for at least 10 years.
The universities currently involved are the University of Stellenbosch (Maties), the University of Johannesburg (UJ), University of Pretoria (Tuks), North-West University (Pukke), the University of the Free State (Kovsies), University of the Western Cape (UWC), the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), the University of Cape Town (Ikeys), the University of the Witwatersand (Wits) and the University of Limpopo.
Varsity Sports already gave the country Varsity sevens rugby and Varsity beach volleyball, last December in Plettenberg Bay and Margate, and now launches the next phase with competitions in athletics, women’s hockey, football and netball.
These exciting additions were announced at a launch at Marks Park in Emmarentia, Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Varsity Sports events will primarily take place on Monday evenings and will be broadcast live on Supersport ensuring that the talents of university sportsmen and women are showcased on a national stage.
Varsity Sports’ exclusive sponsors are First National Bank (FNB), Famous Brands and Cell C.
“Varsity Sports mandate is to showcase untapped Varsity talent, to unlock the inherent commercial potential that sports present whilst enhancing brands and ultimately help build South African sport”, says François Pienaar, CEO of Advent Sport Entertainment & Media Pty Ltd.
“South Africa has extensive talent resources and Varsity Sports will become the high performance platform for this talent. The Collegiate market is set to grow exponentially as a government imperative, and Varsity Sports as the aggregator presents one of the most exciting commercial and social investment opportunities for brands.” The Varsity athletics competition commences on April 15th, when the University of Stellenbosch (Maties) hosts the first of three meets at the magnificent Coetzenburg Stadium. Each event will be condensed into 100 minutes of high octane action, with 9 men’s and 9 women’s items, as well as two mixed gender relays.
The other two meets are scheduled for 22 April at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and 29 April at the University of Pretoria (Tuks).
Eight universities – Maties, UJ, Tuks, Pukke, Kovsies, UWC, NMMU and TUT – will participate. Each event offers points, and the university with the most points after the three meets will be crowned overall winner of Varsity Sports Athletics and take home the trophy.
The Varsity hockey competition will initially only involve women’s teams and will start shortly after the commencement of the Varsity athletics competition. It will be followed by Varsity soccer, Varsity netball, Varsity sevens rugby and Varsity beach volleyball, of which the dates will be confirmed at a later stages.
The media rights of the eleven universities involved are owned by the University Sports Company (USC). USC’s chairman, Professor Henk Kriek, said the body is very excited to see university sport enter this new phase and looks forward to seeing an improvement in the standard of athletics, netball, soccer, hockey, rugby 7s and beach volleyball at university level.
“We are moving to the next phase of Varsity Sports action. The idea of using universities as a development hub for South African sport will now spill over to a variety of sporting disciplines” said Prof Kriek.
“Our aim is to provide a high-performance level between school and professional sport, giving those students with the talent to compete the freedom to do so in a structured environment and prove their potential to take the next step on a national stage. We are committed to addressing the talent drain between secondary school and club sports and to transforming grassroots sport across all sporting codes”
“Varsity Sports has the potential to transform sport and give students opportunities they would not otherwise have. Yet we will emphasise the need for them to study and be successful, because there is life after sport,” Pienaar said.
Bernice Samuels, FNB Chief Marketing Officer, said: “True to FNB’s values, Varsity Cup rugby has not only given players the opportunity to make it into the bigger leagues but has also taught them the true value and importance of sportsmanship and academic performance. We believe in supporting initiatives that continue to contribute to the upliftment and the quality of the youth through sports and education and we are proud to be associated with Varsity Sports.”
Cell C shared the excitement about Varsity Sports as it also aligns well with its core values. “Cell C is an Associate Sponsor of Varsity Cup Soccer, which aligns with the company’s overall sponsorship strategy of identifying properties that afford us the opportunity to engage with communities on the ground – in this case, the student community throughout South Africa,” said Cell C Chief Commercial Officer, Jose Dos Santos.
Famous Brands, who operates Steers, Wimpy, Mugg & Bean and Debonairs, said it is delighted to throw its weight behind Varsity Sports for the next five years.
“The multi-sports sponsorship will see a number of Famous Brands’ main stream brands (Steers, Wimpy, Mugg & Bean and Debonairs) align with various sporting codes that have a strategic fit with their respective target markets,” said Famous Brands Chief Marketing Officer, Derrian Nadauld. “The sponsorship gives these brands a great platform to get closer to our consumers through taking an active role in the promotion and development of Varsity Sports, which gives young talented sportspeople a fantastic opportunity to showcase their skills on live television.”
About ASEM Varsity Sports:
Advent Sport Entertainment and Media (ASEM) was founded by Francois Pienaar in October 2009 and has offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
ASEM Varsity Sports is a wholly owned subsidiary of Advent Sport Entertainment and Media and the exclusive service provider to the University Sports Company (USC) and its participating universities.
ASEM Varsity Sports provides a unique opportunity to connect with the Collegiate community in South Africa through sport and entertainment.
The USC’s main objective is the administration, development, co-ordination and promotion of nonprofessional sport between the higher education institutions in South Africa. The organisation plays a vital role in connecting operational students, active students and alumni.
Sport remains one of the most powerful marketing platforms. In South Africa sport has been a catalyst for change and nation building in our young democracy.
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For any more information please contact:
Media Liaison Varsity Sports: Marizanne Kok 082 822 4277 email@example.com
CEO Varsity Sports: Duitser Bosman 083 395 1073 firstname.lastname@example.org