The Bounce
Doing it for the fans

Why Vodacom Superhero Sunday is important.


It's almost SuperRugby time again!

The announcement of which though doesn't get much interest around the braai or water cooler like it did ten years ago. Instead each year you hear more and more traditional South African rugby fans bitch and moan about the tournament and its endlessly spoken about demise. 

People have started to take more interest in this kind of conversation than the tournament itself. Thankfully though there are still some people trying to keep SuperRugby alive against all odds and elements. Chief amongst them being official tournament sponsor Vodacom, who are looking to kick things off with a bang for the second year running with the Vodacom Superhero Sunday spectacle happening this Sunday in Soweto.

I feel I should at this point make clear that I have no affiliation to Vodacom, nor is this post in anyway requested by anyone involved in the organisation of the tournament or the pre tournament event itself. The reason I am writing this is to acknowledge where SuperRugby is right now, and where it needs to go to survive.

The time for bitching and moaning is quite simply over. Unless that is your thing of course seeing as this is becoming a sport of its own in South Africa nowadays. But then know you play no part in the actual conversation nor any tangible solution.

South African rugby fans will bemoan (often with reason) the shortcomings of SA rugby on a franchise level, but at some stage that needs to turn to support in order to try and turn things around. So when our rugby players are adorned with some superhero touches, rather than criticise we should be understanding why this is happening.

In a recent survey, it was revealed that 10% of the New Zealand SuperRugby audience was born between 1990 and 2005. Just 10%, and that's in rugby mad New Zealand! If this category doesn't care about the sport, then there simply isn't a future for it.

The older male audience that currently makes up the majority of the audience for this tournament may be where most of the eyeballs are for the game now, but their lifespan of support is quite simply waning at a rapid rate.

So what can really be done to try and keep this tournament relevent?

Exactly, answers are hardly forthcoming. Especially from those who are the most vocal of detractors. Yes it's obvious that SA cannot retain the big Springbok names across the franchises, and yes even the really talented youngsters are already being snapped up by overseas clubs. This is no secret, but the players we have are still more than talented enough to warrant our support.

Last year Herschel Jantjies debuted for the Stormers in SuperRugby, then he became a star for the Springboks. This is the kind of talent that this tournament is still uncovering, and these squads still have some major role players in the Bok setup going forward.

So the product of rugby itself is still strong enough, it's now a question of packaging. And that is where Vodacom (together with broadcaster SuperSport) needs to be commended.

The superhero theme is perhaps one of the only routes these major stake holders can go with in order to try and keep this rugby platform alive. And it actually makes perfect sense.

What are the biggest grossing movies nowadays? The Marvel ones obviously. There is an actual show called Marvel Universe Live too that is running for a couple weeks at Times Square in Pretoria. Superheroes are a drawcard. They 'test' well with younger people, this cannot be disputed.

You know what isn't really testing so well with younger people? Yes, the answer is rugby.

So we can either sit through another season of doom and gloom, or we can support the efforts being made here. If you aren't into superheros, that's fine. Outside of the colourful kits and stadium fanfare, these are still South Africa's best domestically based rugby players playing a game that this country loves.

If Vodacom weren't making the effort here, or heaven forbid even decided to give SuperRugby a miss all together, where would we be then?

Thankfully this isn't something to worry about just yet. So let's get behind the day on Sunday. Pre tournament 'friendlies' used to be complete non events in the past, now with Vodacom Superhero Sunday we have a fan experience that can bring new people to the sport, and give existing fans something to get excited about.

That's important. Plain and simple.


For tickets to the event at FNB Stadium on Sunday, click here.

13:00 - Cell C Sharks vs DHL Stormers

15:!5 - Emirates Lions vs Vodacom Bulls

Numerous transport options are available on the day too.

Here's a recap of last year's event.

Tags: superhero sunday, vodacom superhero sunday, super rugby, superrugby 2020


Do you care about SuperRugby?
Haven't cared for many years
I only watch my team play
I guess I like it
Yes, I still love it