Hapoel Tel Aviv Basketball Club (HTA) is now sponsored by the nonprofit organization Vegan Friendly.
The Premier League team ended an 11-year relationship with its former sponsor The Metzer group, a specialist in infrastructure and construction.
The new sponsorship deal is worth one million shekels (around $300,000 USD). It has been funded by donations from Vegan Active, the activist element of Vegan Friendly.
Fans to be offered plant-based food
To celebrate the sponsor onboarding, HTA has announced that as of next season, only vegan food will be served in its VIP arena suites. This will form part of a wider joint strategy to promote plant-based living and healthy lifestyles. Both are considered solutions to the climate crisis and animal welfare concerns.
“In both cases, these are nonprofits that were founded out of love, and work constantly to reach new achievements,” Rami Cohen, chairman of Hapoel Tel Aviv said in a statement.
“Hapoel Tel Aviv is delighted by this important cooperation, which wants to bring a better future for all of us.”
Spreading the vegan message
HTA and Vegan Friendly are slated to be planning a number of events together. However, initial major changes to the team are being spearheaded by a change of uniform. Shirts will now carry the Vegan Friendly logo front and center.
In addition to wearing their sponsor on their chests, the team’s court and the arena will also be decked out in appropriate livery. Environmental and vegan messages will be displayed on courtside screens as well.
“The connection between Vegan Friendly and Hapoel Tel Aviv is natural and obvious,” Omri Paz, founder and CEO of Vegan Friendly said in a statement.
“Both [Vegan Friendly] and the team are always looking for their next big achievement, to go beyond limits and to make the impossible possible.”
Other key spectator sports, including football and rugby, have started making inroads into embracing veganism as well.
Tel Aviv: the ‘vegan capital of the world’
Israel’s second-largest city has been steadily increasing its prolific, and political, embrace of the vegan lifestyle.
Thanks to its more than 400 meat-free restaurants, it is dubbed the “vegan capital of the world.” Further, Tel Aviv recently hosted what was billed as the world’s biggest vegan festival.
Paz wants to see the movement spread throughout the whole of Israel. He sees his sponsorship of HTA as a meaningful step in the right direction.
“Vegan Friendly is proud of the cooperation, which will raise the awareness of the vegan lifestyle and reduce animal-product diets for all Israelis so that together we will be able to create a better future here,” he said.
“We believe that high public awareness of the issue can bring about a change.”