- Amid Siya Kolisi's blockbuster move and MVM Holdings' Sharks takeover, SuperSport CEO Marc Jury says that foreign investors would have a positive impact on the local game.
- Jury explained why the minority shareholder acceded to MVM's advances when the US consortium coveted a controlling stake in the Sharks.
- Jury said there was a major benefit to keeping the World Cup-winning Springbok captain in the country.
With the Sharks' takeover deal involving US consortium MVM Holdings still shaking up rugby, SuperSport CEO Marc Jury says that foreign investors would have a positive impact on the local game.
South African rugby has seldom foraged as far as the Americas for investment. Heck, ceding a controlling stake (51%) as the Sharks have done to MVM has scared the country's sports administrators.
MVM grabbing the lion's share meant SuperSport and the KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union (KZNRU) split the remaining share at 23% and 26%, respectively.
Jury said South African-born businessman Marco Masotti was influential in the swiftness and ease with which the deal took place.
"What made it easier and quicker was the fact that Marco Masotti, who was leading the investment consortium, being from Amanzimtoti, has a deep passion for the Sharks," said Jury.
"But in any deal, you first gauge trust, which is a critical thing. In our early interactions with them, one thing was very apparent, which was that they all wanted the same thing we do - a really positive and bright future for the Sharks.
"We were aligned very quickly on what our overall goals were. It made the negotiations and discussions just that much easier.
"You're working with people that you want to work with, whom you know are making decisions for the right reasons.
"And most importantly, that we will invest in the Sharks future."
MVM Holdings, whose member Michael Yormark is Roc Nation Sports president, wasted no time sinking their claws into a blockbuster deal that saw Springbok captain Siya Kolisi move from Western Province to the Sharks.
Kolisi was unveiled as a Shark two weeks ago, where the 29-year-old will beef up experience and winning nous in a relatively young but vibrant squad.
Jury saw the swoop as MVM's immediate commitment to attracting the best talent to the Sharks.
The benefit for the broadcaster was that one of the local franchises got to keep the World Cup-winning captain playing locally, where rugby followers can easily keep tabs on what and how he's doing on the field.
"[Kolisi's move] highlighted MVM's commitment to wanting to attract the best talent to Durban," said Jury.
"Obviously, there was speculation given Roc Nation's involvement in MVM and the big role they play in Siya's overall commercial aspects.
"But Siya looks like he's enjoying himself in Durban. It's a big win to keep him in the country.
"It's always sad when you see a player drain of the best talent and multiple Springboks plying their trade overseas.
"You can understand it because a rugby player only has so long to play and at some point they've got to try to look after themselves.
"Siya is a global rock star and being able to keep in here is huge for us. I also think it's important for Siya as well because of the true impact he can have on South Africa.
"I think some of that would be lost if he was playing nine months of the year outside South Africa.
"There's talk in the pipeline of other player opportunities to try and bolster the squad. And we are very excited about that.
"It's wonderful to see outside investment coming into South African sport."
SuperSport were the first company to buy into a private equity partnership in South African franchises back when they held 9% of the Sharks in the late 1990's.
Since then, their stake grew to 49% until the MVM Holdings deal was struck.
According to Jury, the broadcaster's investment into the Sharks was less about getting a financial return and more about making sure the Durban outfit puts on a good show for their viewers.
"We were one of the pioneers of private equity investment but we are not investing in it to try make a return," he said.
"As SuperSport, we invested in the Sharks to help shape and create the best possible product.
"We are a television broadcaster and we need to make sure we give people at home a product they can watch. That was the primary reason behind our investment.
"When you get a partner like MVM coming along, who was to invest in the Sharks, it's only going to be good for the local game.
"It's going to help retain the best players in South Africa and to be really competitive at a PRO rugby level and, ultimately, we want to see a winning team again.
"It's been a long time since a South African franchise won an international competition like Super Rugby.
"It was very apparent from early on that they were the right partners and that there's a great deal of trust between us.
"We've still retained a small shareholding in the Sharks because we want to be part of that journey going forward."