General De La Rey and the Blue Bulls
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South Africa, Small
Consumer Behaviour; Sports Marketing; Brand Positioning; Political Environment, International, Marketing, Arts, Entertainment, Sports and Recreation
The Blue Bulls rugby team enjoyed a fanatical fan base and had been performing well in local and international competitions recently. As a leading South African rugby franchise, the Blue Bulls faced a social and political environment that emphasised racial transformation. An up-and-coming Afrikaans musician had become best-seller with his De La Rey song, which was about a Boer soldier who calls on General De La Rey to lead the Afrikaner people to victory in the second South Africa War between the Boer Republic and colonial Britain. Given the emotive theme of the song and the response by some to view it as a reassertion of Afrikaner nationalism, the song had attracted significant media coverage and controversy. As part of the entertainment at the Vodacom Super 14 rugby game between Western Force and the Vodacom Blue Bulls, De La Rey was played over the stadium loudspeakers. This delighted most of the mainly White Afrikaans spectators. As the evening progressed, the acting head of the Blue Bulls Company, the organization that managed the Blue Bulls rugby team and the Loftus Versveld stadium, received a number of complaints from supporters about the playing of the De La Rey song and thus decided to remove the song from the official stadium playlist. By Monday morning, a media frenzy had erupted about this decision and the acting head was faced with a number of options of how to respond. The case is written for a first-year MBA module and is designed to explore the following themes: 1) race, identity and language as consumer behaviour variables 2) spectator, supporter and consumer processes within sports marketing 3) sports brand development and sponsorship relationships.