MTN cancels high-profile cycling sponsorship - TechCentral

MTN cancels high-profile cycling sponsorship


Citing tough market conditions, cellphone giant MTN has confirmed its withdrawal as headline sponsor of the MTN-Qhubeka cycling team.

MTN had spent in the region of R100m on the team since 2013.

The South African outfit delivered a stunning all-round performance at the recently concluded 102nd edition of the Tour de France, finishing fifth overall (out of 22 teams) under the leadership of team principal Doug Ryder.

The team also celebrated seven top 5 stage finishers and 14 top 10 results.

Belgian Serge Pauwels was the leading overall finisher for the team, ending the 21-stage race in 13th position, while Eritrean Daniel Teklehaimanot held the King of the Mountains polka dot jersey for four days.

Briton Stephen Cummings won stage 14, which was particularly memorable as it came on what would’ve been former South African President Nelson Mandela’s birthday.

Of the 160 (out of 198) finishers in the race, South Africa’s Jacques Janse van Rensburg finished 51st, while his namesake — yet no relation — Reinardt Janse van Rensburg ended 96th.

The third South African in the team, Louis Meintjes, unfortunately had to pull out of the race ahead of stage 18.

Qhubeka will compete at this year’s Vuelta a España, scheduled to start on 22 August. Whether they will have landed a new headline sponsor by then remains to be seen.  — Sport24


  1. It would be interesting to know how much of the R100m was spent on the athletes and how much of it went towards MTN’s self-promotional marketing campaigns. The riders even wore special helmets on Nelson Mandela day and this announcement seems to be somewhat of a slap in the face of the cycling community who provided the means for MTN to get top-notch international exposure. Given the fact that MTN contributes generously as a sponsor towards sport in general, you can’t really disqualify MTN in this matter. However, we also can’t ignore the fact that this announcement puts a morbid spin on the great performance of team Qhubeka. I hope they get a new title sponsor soon, and may it be a yet another name that will do us proud.

  2. Tertia Smit on

    Bad timing to leave when the team is doing so well. All the years of building them up will now benefit the next sponsor. I have a good guess of who it would be.

  3. All the people who watch cycling (being a premium sport) are either in countries where MTN doesnt operate or use Vodacom/Vodafone. Good decision MTN. Rather sponsor something really popular in your customer base.

  4. I really hope its “whoever” and not a complete withdrawal of the team. We can only hope that another sponsor in it for the long term does pick up the team and take them on to greater success.

  5. It is difficult to imagine how big a kick in the shins this is for the team. They exceeded expectations. They put the team on the map and in contention for a short bit for a solid overall second place. Held the polka-dot jersey. And all this in the first outing in the Tour.

    MTN, your timing is abysmal and exceptionally disappointing. Shame on you!

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