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MTN cancels sponsorship of Qhubeka cycle team

MTN has confirmed that it won’t be able to sponsor the Qhubeka cycle team anymore.

The mobile service provider has reportedly spent over R100 million over the last two years to outfit and support the team, but group corporate affairs executive Chris Maroleng said that it is no longer viable.

“Considering … the tough operating environment in the telecommunications industry we’ve really had to reassess‚ not just the Qhubeka sponsorship‚ but a number of other engagements we feel don’t have a return on that investment at the levels of comfort to us‚” he told Times Media.

The decision to end the sponsorship came after the conclusion of the Tour de France over the weekend. The team had one of the most successful Tour de France races, finishing 5th in the overall standings this year.

“We had indicated to them we are reconsidering our levels of engagement and then I think the actual communication was between our marketing guys … post Tour de France to say actually we have now decided that we will be ending that partnership,” said Maroleng.

“It was a big deal to us to end our engagement with Qhubeka because it represented to us not just a South African brand‚ but it also represented to us a Pan African brand,” he said.

Earlier this month it was reported that South African technology house Dimension Data is interested in picking up the title sponsorship.

“Dimension Data are new into cycling. I have known them a long time. Jeremy Ord, the chairman, is an amazing guy and Brett Dawson the CEO. Credible people. Love cycling, love this project, have been here, seen it, seen the value that this team could bring to them as a brand as well,” Qhubeka Team Principal Douglas Ryder told CyclingTips.

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