Street-smart, multi-disciplinary leadership and the excellent ability to listen attentively to the expert advice of others while smartly identifying talent were amongst the multitude of factors that catapulted the Multiply Titans to the summit of South African cricket the past five years.
This fact is underlined by the statistics. The Titans have won six of the last 12 domestic trophies on offer, while Northerns Seniors twice shared the spoils in the Sunfoil Three Day Cup and also won the CSA One Day Challenge and Africa T20 Cup.
“We were able to cut costs by 27 % since 2012 and also tripled our income from sponsorships,” said a proud Jacques Faul, Chief Executive Officer and one of the architects along with his board, the team and the coaches, in transforming the fortunes of the Titans and assisting them in turning the proverbial corner.
The Hennops River team were in a rebuilding phase in 2012/13. Heino Kuhn hammered three Momentum One Day Cup centuries and assisted them in reaching the play-offs in 2013/14, where the elements spoiled what could have been a mesmerizing final against the BuildNat Cape Cobras.
Faul spoke to Gary Kirsten, arguably the finest coach in the world at that time and one who had worked in tandem with Rob Walter and recommended that Walter be appointed as coach. Walter, a man with an enormous capacity for hard work, set the wheels in motion to improve the batting and in the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons they amassed 22 Sunfoil Series tons.
The highlight of the 2015/16 season was the coveted double when they won eight Ram Slam T20 Challenge games and also produced a memorable stone-walling fight-back against the bizhub Highveld Lions followed by a slender 10-run win against the Cobras to pip the Lions and win the Sunfoil Series trophy.
“What you need is to follow the correct processes and quality control and ensure that you select the right people to develop the systems which yield trophies,” said Faul.
“We leaned heavily on Gary’s recommendation with Rob and he was a good choice. You need a coach that can spot talent and who can work with young players.”
Probed about the sponsorship climate in South Africa, Faul says cricket is not necessarily in a worse position than other sporting codes. “You have to acknowledge that the macro-economic climate is a tough one. You must make sure that your product and your brand can add value to a sponsor. You must also ascertain that the sponsor can associate with your work-ethos and your brand-culture,” he said.
“You must also be innovative in building properties in order to lure associate sponsors, and in order to build that properties, you need the correct people, which we had.”
Sponsorship is also about interpersonal relationship and trust. Faul said he is fortunate as he has a relationship with a wonderful team man in Danie van den Bergh, brand manager of Momentum South Africa. The fact that their headquarters are only 800 metres from the Titans is a bonus, he said.
The Titans are a front-runner in the process of making the cricket stadium, SuperSport Park, commercially stronger by adding to the 17 to 23 cricket-related days per year that are available for commercial profit-making.
The Gautrain Festival of Running, Momentum Outdoor + and concerts are some of the events that they have planned in their endeavours to add another 17 weekends to the calendar in which the iconic stadium can profit from being utilized commercially. Using SuperSport Park as an ETA College facility is another benefit.
Multiply Titans and SuperSport Park are planning an International Stadium and Facility Conference in February 2018. The stadium hosted the International Sport Exchange Conference and Expo in November 2015 which attracted a vast array of senior role players from the Department of Basic Education, Department of Sport and Recreation, several academics from different fields and members of the public.
“We are happy that we are one of the stadiums utilised by Cricket South Africa continually for Tests, One Day Internationals and T20-Internationals. We are chuffed with the attendance figures in the limited-over events.
“In Tests, we are still searching for a perfect formula to emulate the lounge-experience for spectators, but this has been a challenge worldwide and we are hoping to find an answer soon,” said Faul, whose innovative leadership has been a bench-setter for South African sport-stadium utilisation in South Africa the past few years.