The Bulls and Stormers will go ahead-to-head in one of the country's most prestigious sport awards.
South Africa's most successful rugby franchise, the Bulls have received two nominations for the prestigious sport Industry Awards 2012, judged by a panel of experts after an intense two-days.
The Bulls have been nominated for the Best Business Performance by a Sport Team category.
Other nominees are the Warriors (cricket team) and Stormers.
The Bulls is the only South African franchise to have won three Super Rugby titles - in 2007, 2009 and 2011 - a feat that has to date not been matched by any other franchise in the country.
The only other team to have won Super Rugby honours were the Lions (then still Transvaal), who won a Super 10 title in 1993.
The Stormers lost in the 2010 Super 14 Final to the Bulls and this year got knocked out in the semifinal stage.
The Blue Bulls were also nominated in the Sport Brand of the Year along with five other nominees – Canterbury, EFC Africa, Nike, SuperSport and the Sharks.
In the past few years, the Bulls have been breaking the record books both on and off the field. They officially command the highest number of rugby supporters in South Africa with an impressive 2 949 000 out of 9 644 000 rugby supporters and have seen a steady increase in supporter growth among Blacks, Whites, Coloureds and Indians.
They have over 1 000 000 more supporters than their closest rivals.
Their Super 14 triumphs have increased the global footprint of their sponsors, resulting in a steady increase in market share and increased profitability and greater return on sponsorships.
Barend van Graan, the Blue Bulls Company CEO, said recognition by key figures in the industry endorses the work done by the Blue Bulls Company to become the most popular and dynamic sports brand in South Africa, especially in a year that a number of top players are retiring or moving on to clubs abroad, which we are in the process of replacing these icons with young and upcoming stars.
"Our vision for the Blue Bulls is to be a world class sports brand which results in a two-pronged approach – commercial success and optimising the performances of our teams," Van Graan said.
"We are delighted that the Sports Industry Awards judging panel has acknowledged our efforts, both on the field and off. Ultimately we want to set a global benchmark and become the most loved and innovative sports brand in South Africa and such recognition tells us that we are on the right track."
The Sport Industry Awards is regarded as the flagship opportunity for South Africa's thriving sports market to celebrate their work.
Winners will be announced on 23 February 2012.
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