One of Africa’s premier watersport festivals celebrates its return to Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth this Easter weekend with a multiyear sponsorship from international telecommunications giant MTN.
Africa’s first global sponsor of a Fifa World Cup secured the naming rights to the 19th annual Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival in a strategic joint-venture with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
A substantial monetary injection from MTN over the next two years is set to elevate the event, which will take place from April 10 to 13 this year, to new heights.
Ntombizodwa Mhangwani, MTN South Africa’s senior brand leverage manager for 2010, says apart from being one of the largest watersport festivals on the continent, the beach soccer tournament was a major draw card for the marque, “especially with its emphasis on development”.
“Our involvement highlights our commitment to local football development, the 2010 Fifa World Cup and our pride in being the first and only global African sponsor.”
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s communications director, Roland Williams, says the festival – which will now be known as the MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival – has become a signature event for PE.
“Every city needs a flagship event,” he says, “and Port Elizabethans should be proud of the Splash, which was born and bred right here.”
Williams says it is of great significance that a major international role-player like MTN has come on board. “It not only shows their confidence in the festival, but also in the city’s ability to host an event of this magnitude.”
He says the consortium of organisers was specifically chosen for their expertise in the different aspects of the event.
According to Williams, this year’s MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival provides the perfect platform to market and promote the benefits of the upcoming World Cup to a captive audience of more than 500 000 people.
“Being a 2010 host city presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase the city to the world and Splash is an exceptional catalyst in the build-up.” He says the municipality’s annual sponsorship of the event has proven to be a valuable investment in promoting the metro.
Algoa FM will be broadcasting live from the festival throughout the long weekend. According to Dave Tiltmann, managing director, the Splash is as integral a part of the region as is the broadcaster.
“We are excited about the extent of our involvement in this year’s event, especially with Hobie Beach literally on our doorstep.” Tiltmann says their more than 800 000 listeners will be kept up to speed on festival action throughout.
According to event organiser, Glenn van Eck, the festival is positioned as a watersport family festival and therefore they have chosen the tagline “Four Days of Fun & Freedom” to promote it.
“Easter traditionally signifies family time and the Splash epitomises the essence of a family festival.”
He adds that Hobie Beach provides the perfect arena for the event. “The beachfront is accessible and offers superb infrastructure for the various festival elements.”
Watersport co-ordinator for the festival, Michael Zoetmulder, says from an aquatic point of view one cannot ask for a more suitable venue. “Spectators will have an excellent view of all the watersport disciplines,” which includes a World Series surf-ski event.
Apart from a myriad of watersport and beach events, festivalgoers will be treated to outstanding entertainment, performing artists and an array of unique food and craft stalls.
According to Van Eck, the website (www.splashfestival.com) will go live early next week, providing on-demand information such as news updates and programmes. The festival office can be contacted on 041 393 4844.
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival