The Highveld Lions on Tuesday bucked that trend by announcing that it’s title partnership with Konica Minolta has been extended for an unprecedented 10th year in franchise cricket, paving the way for the type of commercial stability that should assist Geoff Toyana’s charges in overturning a poor 2013/14 domestic campaign.
“In an era where value-added sponsorships are paving the way forward for sports teams, this is an incredible accomplishment for us as a franchise,” noted Gauteng Cricket Board (GCB) and franchise chief executive Greg Fredericks on Tuesday.
“Not only has Konica Minolta played an integral part in enabling the franchise to gradually grow but being associated with a world-class and well-run organisation has changed the way that we run the franchise as a business. They are also part of the Bidvest group who play an integral role in the Gauteng Cricket Board commercial brand plan and we are proud to be associated with industry giants.”
Four-day and 50-over skipper Stephen Cook alluded to the continued faith shown by their backers, highlighting the galvanising effect it would have on the players.
“When the franchise system started out, the territory was fairly unknown to the commercial industry in South Africa and it was great for us as players to be backed by a company that was brave enough to chart into unknown territory. They have stuck to their guns and supported us ever since,” he said.
“Having a commercial partner on board that understands cricket and how the game works is invaluable to a team.”
Veteran Neil McKenzie hopes the partnership will inspire the players to deliver on-field excellence.
“As players we have always been aware of the standards that our sponsor has and this makes for a good benchmark when stepping across the boundary rope.”