Photo Credit: Roc NationAuthor: Dumisani KoyanaAt the beginning of August 2021, Mamelodi Sundowns confirmed an historic partnership with Roc Nation Sports as the club continues on its journey to aspire to become the biggest football club on the African continent. The announcement was met with positive sentiment across social media with millions of impressions raising excitement beyond the South African football fraternity, with several high-profile sports personalities sending in their congratulatory messages across all the digital platforms.
Roc Nation Sports, a sub-division of Roc Nation, was launched in 2013. Founder Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter’s love for sports led to its formation, supporting athletes in the same way Roc Nation has been working alongside and advocating for artists in the music industry since 2008. Roc Nation Sports focuses on elevating athletes’ careers on a global scale both on and off the field as well as conceptualizing and executing marketing and endorsement deals, community outreach initiatives, charitable tie-ins, media relations, and brand strategy.

The roster of Roc Nation Sports includes South Africa’s top athletes such as Siya Kolisi, Cheslin Kolbe, Temba Bavuma, and Bongiwe Msomi. Additionally, within their stables one can find several international athletes which include Manchester City’s playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, Chelsea’s striker Romelu Lukaku, NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving, the NBA Ball brothers, as well as several high profile football clubs including AC Milan and Leeds United.
Mamelodi Sundowns Magazine crew spoke to Michael Yormark, President of Roc Nation Sports International, about the partnership. He was thrilled and impressed by the vision and values of the leadership at Masandawana. “I have been to South Africa a couple of times and got myself familiar with the brand. There are common values between the two organisations, both are committed to excellence and chasing greatness. Mamelodi Sundowns have a great slogan that says “The Sky is the Limit”. At Roc Nation we dream it and there are no boundaries. We are an organisation that does things with integrity and honesty which is very important. You are more than a football club, you mean more to the community, to the supporters and your players, and we wanted to be part of that."
Roc Nation Sports International president Michael Yormark, Sundowns chairperson Tlhopie Motsepe and Roc Nation director of operations in Africa Isaac Lugudde
The momentous link-up will, among other things, focus on brand amplification, social media strategy and execution, commercial sales and football consultation regarding transfers within the global football market. The agreement is also expected to improve the club’s connection with the supporters from within and outside the continent as the Yellow Nation continues its quest of becoming one of the best football clubs in the world.

Furthermore, the historic partnership is highly regarded as a dynamic collaboration underpinned by values of humility, excellence, and respect and Yormark was full of excitement in his elaboration.

"Mamelodi Sundowns is a big brand in South Africa and Africa as a whole. Our goal in this partnership is to take your brand, tell your story and amplify it to the world. We have a global footprint as Roc Nation and we can do that around the world, be it in Europe, China and of course in the United States of America. We are very excited about the opportunity and our partnership announcement showed how people will embrace your brand around the world. Over 400 million impressions were achieved on social media on the day the announcement was made."

Yormark was also full of praise for the new Mamelodi Sundowns Home & Away players kits which feature a unique traditional hand-printed treatment inspired by African art and fashion.

"I have seen your new jersey, I love the away strip and it speaks to the culture, it is very African-inspired and the design is powerful. I salute your club for developing something so unique and it will appeal to everyone across the world. I can’t wait to rock it with my skinny jeans and white sneakers.”
The partnership between Roc Nation and The Yellow Nation is one that has the potential to be a very special landmark in Mamelodi Sundowns’ history. Not since 2018, when Lionel Messi and Barcelona CF came to play against our team, have supporters of the Club enjoyed the benefits of a unique international relationship. As the team continues in its quest to become the best football club in Africa, it now embarks on this journey with a partner that believes in the brand and understands how to take it to a global audience.

One can only look forward to the day when a Sundowns shirt is sold from Cape Town to Cairo, and from Mamelodi to Manhattan.
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