Johannesburg - As part of the efforts to rebuild its reputation Cricket South Africa will be leaning on the entertainment agency Roc Nation, founded by Beyonce’s husband, Jay-Z, the federation announced on Thursday.
Roc Nation has already carved a niche for itself in South Africa through its backing of Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and its partnerships with the Sharks rugby union and Mamelodi Sundowns football club.
Its collaboration with Cricket SA, is not its first association with the sport. The company already has deals in place with Proteas limited overs captain, Temba Bavuma and fast bowler, Lungi Ngidi, none of which CSA’s chief executive Pholetsi Moseki explained would be impacted by the organisation’s new partnership.
Roc Nation president, Michael Yormark, emphasised the importance of CSA building bridges with supporters and how his organisation would be using social media platforms to broaden the sports appeal with a wider and new audience.
“We are excited about CSA’s commitment to doing things differently…and to raising the profile and telling the stories about some of their incredible players,” Yormark said.
South African cricket continues to try and repair the reputational damage incurred by years of administrative mismanagement and incompetence at CSA, and Moseki said part of the three-year deal with Roc Nation was to assist CSA in sourcing new commercial partners.
“The structure of the agreement is that Roc Nation is incentivised to actually go out and to make money for us.
They are definitely more incentivised to go out there and help us get more commercial deals.” Moseki said Roc Nation would be receiving a “minimum retainer, that is not much to write home about.”
The most tangible outcome of the relationship will be seen through social media platforms like Tik Tok, Instagram and Facebook, along with more modernised and revitalised in-stadium entertainment for spectators.
Yormark outlined his company’s relationships with the National Football League in the United States, which Roc Nation in the last few years has assisted in creating the SuperBowl halftime show. This year that show included Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J Blige and Eminem performing at the interval in what is the most watched event in the USA.
While that level of superstar is unlikely to be performing at the lunch break on day one of the New Year’s Test, it offers an indication of the kind of new direction Cricket SA wants to take with some of its marquee events and how to make them more attractive to audiences beyond the traditional cricket one.
Cricket SA will be hosting some major events in the coming years including the Women’s T20 World Cup in February, the men’s 50-over World Cup in 2027 and in the immediate future CSA’s new T20 franchise league, that is set to be played in January.
Roc Nation will have its work cut out with the latter which will be competing against the established Big Bash League that is played at the same time in Australia and a new T20 league in the United Arab Emirates that has attracted big interest from investment firms in the United States and India and is also set to be played in January.
Meanwhile, Moseki said CSA would be naming four of its new management team, including the new Director of Cricket by the end of the month.