February 29, 2024

Springboks in talks with Ackerley Sports Group over ‘US$75m’ investment

  • Potential investment would be used to enhance South African rugby at all levels
  • Ackerley already holds investments in Leeds United, Seattle Storm and Seattle Kraken

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) is in negotiations with Ackerley Sports Group (ASG) over a potential investment in the federation’s new commercial business venture.

The partnership aims to boost South African rugby at all levels, supporting the country’s professional game and increasing the national team and SARU’s commercial revenue.

Ackerley said it would invest in a commercial vehicle that would hold all current and future revenue-generating assets of both the SARU and the Springboks.

According to Sportico, the investment will be worth US$75 million. The federation would have majority ownership of the business entity, which would be valued at US$375 million. ASG meanwhile would own a minority stake believed to be worth 20 per cent.

The venture would control SARU’s sponsorships, broadcast rights, partnerships, content, marketing and matchday revenue. It scope will also extend to any collaborations involving any of South Africa’s national rugby teams, as well as any partnerships held by SARU in both domestic and international competitions.

SARU’s revenue share from the entity will go towards funding the costs of running the amateur game in South Africa.

The agreement has yet to be finalised, with further negotiations and final approval by SARU’s constituent members still required.

Established as a spin-off of Ackerley Partners, ASG owns stakes in several sports teams, including the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Seattle Storm and the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Seattle Kraken. It also has a minority stake in English soccer club Leeds United, as a result of a partnership with 49ers Enterprises.

“We are excited to partner with a legendary global sports franchise like the Springboks,” said Ted Ackerley, co-founder of ASG. “Our collaboration will establish a world-wide expansion of the most iconic brand in rugby.

“This investment in the Springboks represents a unique opportunity for us to match the on-field success of the team with the resources needed to establish and sustain the franchise as a global powerhouse.

“We will bring decades of experience and passion for excellence with us while listening carefully to the people of South Africa to ensure that this team continues to reflect the history and culture of this amazing country.”

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