England host Royal Bafokeng Nation gears up for South Africa World Cup

World Cup venue the Royal Bafokeng Nation is embarking on a global media relations campaign to help reinvent its economy.

World Cup base: Bafokeng Sports Palace
World Cup base: Bafokeng Sports Palace

The England squad flew out to its Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus training base this week. They will play the USA on 12 June at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, one of five World Cup matches the stadium will host.

The Royal Bafokeng Nation, led by King Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi, controls large platinum deposits. It is using the global media attention to publicise the region, hoping to attract further investment.

In recent months, the nation has built an eight-strong in-house PR team led by American anthropologist Sue Cook, and has engaged College Hill to help tell its story abroad.

College Hill partner Simon Whitehead, heading the account, said: 'With the World Cup coming to South Africa, the Royal Bafokeng Nation is using media and PR to put the spotlight on the nation and generate international interest in investment and project development opportunities in the city, area and region'

The region particularly wants to use media relations and PR to help it diversify its economy away from its platinum roots, highlighting its new sporting and educational facilities and its investment in infrastructure and community projects.

The Bafokeng Sports Campus, a five-star, high-altitude sport complex opened last month by the king, hopes to attract sport teams from across the globe to use it as a warm-weather training camp.

Meanwhile, the England 2018 World Cup Bid has hired sports PR shop Pitch as its retained UK PR support. It will support the bid until December, when FIFA decides which country will host World Cup tournaments in 2018 and 2022.

The agency previously provided project support for the bid, but has been appointed as an official supplier.

Part of Pitch's brief includes securing big-name celebrities for the official 'Back the Bid' campaign, which has already involved stars such as Noel Gallagher, Stephen Fry, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

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