April 3, 2016 - Currently in the local media it is being reported that EP Kings is in the process of securing an R80m sponsorship deal that would save the cash-strapped union from liquidation.
The news came out in the PE High Court on Tuesday where EP Rugby had to show why a provisional liquidation order against it granted two months ago should not be made permanent.
It emerged that a sum of R20m has already been paid into a trust account of the attorneys representing EP Rugby as an act of good faith.
The liquidation application was filed in January 2016 and initially saw 18 players claim that EP Rugby owed them about R1.3m in unpaid salaries. Subsequently a further 18 players joined the application as intervening creditors, claiming that EP Rugby were in breach of an arbitration ruling awarding them R18m in respect of salary arrears and other benefits.
The Lions themselves played the whole 2013 and 2014 seasons without a main sponsor, and then secured Emirates Airlines as main sponsor for the 2015 to 2019 seasons, in a deal believed to be worth about R150m or R30m per year. Since then they have played an attractive brand of rugby that also enabled them to bring on board a host of other associate sponsors.
The budgets of the Bulls, Stormers and Sharks for Super Rugby is rumoured to be worth around R80m per year, with the Lions around R57m, the Cheetahs around R27m and the Kings, who is currently run by SARU, somewhere between R20m and R30m.
Compare this to some of the Football sponsorships out there: Man United - $218m, Bayern Munich - $140m, Barcelona - $80m, and it shows you that Rugby sponsorship in South Africa is small change.
The Global sponsorship spending is estimated to be $60.2billion per year.
The biggest individual sponsorship deal is for baseball player Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins who secured a $325m contract for 13 years from 2015 to 2027.