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Cameron Murray, Cody Walker, Campbell Graham and Damien Cook with MG Motor CEO Peter Ciao

Random Souths Guy has become more than just a cultural phenomenon after helping the Rabbitohs to land one of the richest and most prestigious sponsorship deals in Australian sport.

MG Motor have signed on as South Sydney’s major sponsor for the next five-years and the multi-million dollar deal owes much to a chance encounter on the golf course between the automotive company’s Chinese boss and a passionate Rabbitohs fan.

Peter Ciao, CEO of MG Motor Australia and New Zealand, revealed that his company had been looking to sponsor a sporting team and was considering a number of NRL clubs when he met the unknown Souths fan while playing golf at Parramatta during Sydney’s recent COVID lockdown.

“You were only allowed to play golf with two people, so I like to talk with players in other groups,” Ciao said.

“I have been wanting MG to get involved with rugby league since my arrival in Australia, however, with so many teams I was unsure of which team to choose.

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“Here was a guy wearing the Rabbitohs cap and I asked him his opinion about the team.

“The passionate way he spoke to me about the club and the generations of Rabbitohs supporters made my final decision clear about which club to choose.”

The spotting of fans wearing Rabbitohs jerseys or caps at major events in Australia and around the world has become so common that Twitter and Instagram accounts have been set up to share sightings of Random Souths Guy.

Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese spoke about the phenomenon in an interview with NRL.com before this year’s grand final and he used the Random Souths Guy hashtag to post a photo of his dog in the club’s colours.

"At almost any event, it doesn’t matter if it is the tennis at Wimbledon or the Masters Golf, you will see someone there in a Souths top or cap," Albanese said.

There have been recent sightings of Random Souths Guy at NFL matches, English rugby union games, the AFL grand final and A-League fixtures, as well as the England-France Test in Perpignan and the Super League grand final.

Other famous overseas sightings have included the 2018 Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather bout in Las Vegas, an NHL match in Canada and FIFA World Cup qualifier in Spain. 

Yet few have had the impact of the Random Souths Guy who met Ciao on the golf course.

“The Rabbitohs have a long heritage since 1908 and a passion that has delivered them 21 premierships - the most of any team,” Ciao said. “Our brand also has a strong heritage and our passion too has made us a top 10 brand in Australia.”

With COVID having disrupted every facet of life and caused so much uncertainty since early 2020, there were fears that company’s may be reluctant to increase sponsorship revenue to clubs.

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However, the Rabbitohs have managed to secure a long term deal with MG Motor, the British founded and now Chinese owned automotive company whose famous octagon logo will appear on the club’s jerseys, while retaining their other sponsors.

“For our club and our sport to attract a company as recognisable as MG speaks volumes for the fact that not only do we have what I think is the best ball sport in the world but we also have a unique place in the community,” Solly said.

“It is a selling point for the club, a selling point for the sport and something that attracts sponsors like MG.”

Solly said the NRL’s ability - under the leadership of ARLC chairman Peter V’landys - to become the first major sporting competition in the world to resume playing in 2020 had generated confidence in the game.

“The fact we have been able to attract new partners shows how strong the sport is in the market at the moment,” Solly said.

“At the end of the day, the decision to get back on the field first in 2020 during the worst of the pandemic put the sport and our club in great stead, and we have been able to use that advantage to attract recognisable world-wide brands like MG.”

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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