Betting agency to sponsor Dolphins

2016-09-23 06:00

HOLLYWOODBETS are the new title sponsors of the Dolphins for the 2016/17 season.

Having been an associate sponsor last season, the betting agency have taken up the mantle after the Willowton Group (Sunfoil) decided to focus their sponsorship on Test and national cricket after five years with the Dolphins.

Announcing the deal at Kingsmead recently, KZNCU president Faeez Jaffer said this was an exciting period for the franchise and he hoped the partnership would grow and continue for many seasons.

“We have been in discussions with Hollywoodbets and obviously they are cautious as this is a huge step and commitment for them,” he said.

“Bearing that in mind, the deal is currently only for the upcoming season and we will take matters forward from there season by season. They will bring the same value as our previous sponsors.”

It may seem ironic that a betting company is sponsoring a cricket franchise given the controversy that surrounds the game when it comes to gambling and fixing, but Hollywoodbets media and communications executive Devin Heffer dispelled any rumours or lame comments.

“This is a huge announcement from our side and as a local company, our roots run deep in KZN sport,” he said. “We had a taste of what being involved with the Dolphins is about last season and we wanted more, taking our involvement to a new level.

“We jumped at the opportunity to become title sponsors and are the first betting brand in South Africa to be a title sponsor of a sporting franchise.

“Let me say that as a company, we are more than committed to upholding the standards, spirit and ethos of the game and have the Dolphins brand and cricket in the province as our number one priority.”

Continuing to sponsor club cricket and community-based soccer teams, Heffer said Hollywoodbets wanted to work on its mandate of bringing people to cricket, introducing people to the game and creating a festive atmosphere at games home and away.

“Our ‘purple army’ has become a familiar sight at Dolphin matches and with branches around the country, we have staff cheering on our boys when they play away from Durban, creating a home from home atmosphere for them,” he said. “Hence we created the #DolFanArmy and we hope to expand the ranks this season.”

Dolphins coach Grant Morgan was confident the team would perform on the field and make the sponsors proud.

“With Hollywoodbets creating a vibe at our games, we have no excuses but to perform and we will pick up that mantle of getting people to the cricket as well,” he said.

“Don’t be surprised to see Dolphins players on street corners a few days ahead of a game handing out pamphlets, telling people to get to the ground.”

Acting Dolphins CEO Rajesh Behari said it was an obvious option to approach Hollywoodbets once Willowton had pulled out and it was confirmed that the Dolphins were in the market for an associate sponsor.

It was also confirmed that with the new title sponsors on board, the Dolphins would play all their away One Day Cup and CSA T20 matches in purple kit.

The season starts for the Dolphins with a four-day clash against the Warriors at Buffalo Park, East London, from 5 to 8 October.

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