South African brewer SAB (part of the multinational group SABMiller – owner of lager brands such as Miller, Grolsch, Peroni Nastro Azzurro) is to sponsor the forthcoming British & Irish Lions rugby union tour of South Africa.
SAB’s lager brand Castle secured title sponsorship of the tour in a deal worth around £1.7m – confirming its status as one of the most important sports sponsors in the country. It sponsored the last Lions tour of South Africa in 1997 and will also be involved in the hotly-anticipated upcoming cricket test series between Australia and South Africa.
The Lions’ ten day tour of South Africa is expected to be one of the sporting highlights of the year – with analysts predicting it will be worth around £70 million to the local South African economy. It’s also a big earner for the Lions team – which has picked up a number of blue-chip sponsors. These include brands like HSBC, Guinness, adidas, British Airways, Marks & Spencer and First Cape.