After 25 years as a minority shareholder in the Free State Cheetahs, SuperSport has decided to relinquish its equity stake in the rugby franchise.
This comes on the back of similar moves by SuperSport, with regards its interests in other sports teams, including the Dolphins cricket franchise, in keeping with its shift in business strategy.
SuperSport will, however, not be cutting ties with the Cheetahs and will instead become a strategic media partner of the Bloemfontein franchise. SuperSport’s 24.5% shareholding will duly return to the Free State Rugby Union, who will wholly own the Cheetahs.
“We have been equity partners of the FS Cheetahs since the late 1990s and enjoyed sharing in the union’s successes, which included five Currie Cup titles and the emergence of many Springbok players,” said Marc Jury, Chief Executive of SuperSport. “I would like to thank the Cheetahs for an enjoyable partnership and their enduring commitment to excellence, and look forward to a new partnership with them.”
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“On behalf of the Cheetahs community, I want to express my thanks and appreciation to the SuperSport team for having been such excellent partners for more than two decades,” said Cheetahs Chairman, Ryno Opperman. “One cannot quantify their contributions in monetary terms only, as the value of their involvement went far beyond that. It was a joy sharing their experience in sport and commitment to sound governance. Such partners are very rare in sport.”
Ross van Reenen, the newly-appointed CEO of the Cheetahs said: “It is a real pity that I will not have the benefit of SuperSport as shareholders. But from what I have picked up in a short space of time with them is that they command tremendous respect in rugby because of the valuable leadership they bring to the game. I am looking forward to drawing on their expertise as we continue building an international franchise in the central region of the country.”