Rugby scooped three awards at the Virgin Active Sports Industry Awards at a glittering ceremony at Emperor’s Palace on Thursday evening.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU), the Vodacom Bulls and DHL Western Province were all honoured at a star-studded banquet, marking the inaugural edition of the awards. The Sharks were also among the nominees in one of the 12 categories, initiated to celebrate business achievement in sport.
New Bokkie mascot
SARU launched a revamped Bokkie mascot in 2010 and won the prize in the category of the Best Integrated Sport Marketing Campaign. The redrawn mascot was launched in 3D in cinemas and was aligned to a highly successful nationwide apparel release in conjunction with Cape Town animators, Sunrise Productions.
Bokkie was identified by SARU as the ideal platform through which to communicate to rugby’s diverse supporters and reach out to a new fan base. The judges noted that the character, and the success of the campaign, had led to huge demand for Bokkie apparel with retail partners.
Sports Team of the Year
The Virgin Atlantic Sports Team of the Year was DHL Western Province and Stormers rugby. They beat off competition from Kaiser Chiefs, MTN Energade Pro Cycling Team and the Chevrolet Warriors to collect the trophy.
The Cape Town-based Union recruited key athletes and management prior to the 2010 season and invested in facilities and structures. The results were tangible as team results improved significantly while attendances at Newlands’ 21 events showed an increase of 43% in attendance.
Outstanding contribution to SA Sport
The third award for rugby went to the Vodacom Bulls who were presented with the SuperSport Outstanding Contribution to SA Sport Award. The discretionary prize was given in the recognition of the social significance and the benefits in nation-building achieved through the Bulls’ two Vodacom Super 14 finals matches played in Soweto last May.
“The winning of these awards is a recognition of the vibrancy of rugby and the way that our sport is always looking to improve itself and explore new ways to engage and entertain our supporters,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU (pictured below).
“I’d like to congratulate Western Province and the Bulls for their awards as well as The Sharks for taking part and demonstrating just how strong is our sport.”
SARU was nominated in two other categories Best Grassroots development programme for a project in conjunction with TAG Rugby which introduced TAG rugby to 25 000 children and included an anti-drug and anti-crime message in conjunction with the United Nations
And SARU’s integrated communications platforms (Facebook, Twitter, MXit, Mobisite, ezine and the first digital sports magazine for a South African sports federation – www.bokonlimemag.co.za) were nominated in the Best Use of Digital Communications category.
“We can be proud that rugby was the only sport – rather than agencies or sponsors – to win at these important awards,” said Roux. “It underlines the creative talent and vision that our sport attracts.”
The third edition of Bok, our online magazine, was released on Friday. It can be viewed at www.bokonlinemag.co.za.