On July 29th, the largest rugby tournament in the Southern Hemisphere, Super Rugby 2017, held its season semi-final in Johannesburg at the Emirates Ellis Park Stadium. The Hisense South Africa sponsored Lions were trailing 3-22 to the Hurricanes early on, but took over home field advantage in the last 33 minutes and performed an incredible comeback to win 44-29, securing a trip back to the Super Rugby finals for a second straight year.
Rugby is predominantly the most popular sport in South Africa. One of SA’s most well-known teams, the Lions are known for their tactical wing defense and for winning many of its physical exchanges up front. In recent years, the team’s performance has also improved dramatically throughout all levels of the league and has become South Africa's top Rugby team. The Lions team spirit and brand coincides with Hisense South Africa’s “Aim High” brand strategy. Both the Lions and Hisense South Africa strive to improve their quality and strength, while innovating to continually achieve great things.
At the beginning of 2017, Hisense became the Lions’ official consumer electronics partner. As part of the sponsorship, Hisense now brands the Lions with an embroidered Hisense logo on the right shoulder of the team’s jersey . Other sponsorship highlights include extensive branding throughout the team’s stadium, rolling banners around the pitch featuring Hisense ULED, and other advertising opportunities such as billboards and social media activities. Additionally, Hisense has rights to use Lions’ imagery and its many key players as brand ambassadors. To maximize the sponsorship further, Hisense SA created a #Roarforlife activation area situated in the stadium, which held a signing ceremony last week with the Lions’ players for the fans.
The Lions semi-final opponent was New Zealand's Hurricanes, a team that has won the Super Rugby League championship trophy four times and was last year's runner-up. This certainly created an epic stage for the matchup and a high level of excitement.
On the opening play, the Hurricanes launched an efficient, high-speed attack on the Lions, and quickly widened the score to 3-22. However, In the face of this large deficit, the Lions adjusted their strategy in the second half and came back with a strong counterattack that quickly tied the score.
In the end, the Lions managed to achieve overwhelming control of the final score, 44-29, leaving fans “roaring” for them to go to the final.
Emirates Airline Park stadium was packed to the rafters on Saturday and as it welcomes the Super Rugby final between the Lions and Crusaders, the Lions are expected to become just the second South African team in league history to win the Super Rugby championship.
Hisense has received numerous compliments and messages from channel customers and partners congratulating the Lions on winning the semi-finals and praising Hisense’s sponsorship to the team, recognising it as a great success. The brand exposure from Hisense being the Official Electronic Sponsor was incredible. It allowed Hisense to pass on a multi-dimensional experience for all Lions fans, who now associate the Hisense brand with the Lions spirit. This Lions sponsorship is one of the most accessible marketing activities across all platforms that Hisense SA has carried out in recent years and will ultimately lead down to further sponsorship opportunities in the future.