Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee has detailed their ambitious plans to welcome fans back to Kings Park when Covid-19 restrictions are lowered.
Coetzee was talking to the Telegraph, on the eve of the Sharks’ clash with the British & Irish Lions which, due to the current restrictions, will be played at Ellis Park in an empty stadium.
However, Coetzee is already looking to the future, with the Sharks among the four South African teams who will enter the PRO14, rebranded as the Ultimate Rugby Championship.
During the interview, Coetzee spoke about how, thanks to the influence of majority shareholders MVM Holdings and Roc Nation, the Sharks are changing their approach off the field.
This included preparing a “party” for when fans make their first return to Kings Park since early 2020.
“I had Michael Yormark, the president of Roc Nation, at my house and he was asking how he could help. I told him about how Covid had robbed people of so much joy in South Africa,” Coetzee said.
“So, for our first game back with crowds, I told him I wanted to have the biggest party that Durban has ever seen. He then says … ‘I have an idea!’ So, Michael gets on his phone and all of a sudden up pops this picture of a guy in his golf cart with his cap back to front. He said, ‘Hey, my brother’. I was speaking to this guy and I had no idea who he was. I do now!
“He said: ‘I’ll come to the motherland, cool! But I just want to tell you. I am very, very expensive.’
“Michael then told me it was DJ Khaled … and I realised there and then that I had to grow out of my little box. I was speaking to this guy and he was probably one of the biggest artists in the world!
“One of the mindset changes I and people at the Sharks had to make is that, in South Africa, often you just survive. But that mindset has to be shelved. Everything that the Americans want is big, bold and brave.
“And so you get Roc Nation in and it is big, bold and brave – in italics, underlined and a font size of 40. And that is what we need in South Africa and they are really helping us from a marketing, strategic and brand point of view.
“The American consortium has brought in the American way of thinking – but keeping our values and culture intact. It’s really exciting and something that South African sport has never had. For us going to Europe – this timing is perfect.”
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images