SIA extends S'pore GP sponsorship to 2017

Singapore Airlines took over from Singtel as title sponsor of the Singapore Grand Prix last year, during which some 84,450 tickets were sold.
Singapore Airlines took over from Singtel as title sponsor of the Singapore Grand Prix last year, during which some 84,450 tickets were sold.BT FILE PHOTO

Race expected to face more challenging economic environment this year

National carrier Singapore Airlines (SIA) will soar alongside the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix as its title sponsor until 2017, when the country also decides if it will continue to host the world's only full night race.

It is understood that the deal is worth just under $10 million per edition. Last year, SIA took over as title sponsor from Singtel, which had lent its name to the race since its inception in 2008.

"As a strong supporter of both sports and tourism, we are excited to continue as title sponsor of one of the most exciting races in the F1 calendar," said SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong.

"We look forward to further showcasing the race to the world and helping to strengthen Singapore's image as a world-class tourism, cultural and sporting event city."

CIMB economist Song Seng Wun said it was no surprise that the airline's iconic Singapore Girl will continue her association with the race, noting that there are "not many local sponsors with the deep pockets or global branding to be able to carry this event".

He added: "F1 is still a high-profile social and sporting event in the calendar but it will be a relatively challenging environment, at least for this year." Mr Song cited the rise in the Singapore dollar against other currencies as one reason this may be so. "Hopefully, the sport continues to stay relevant to global audiences," he said.

Through its seven editions, the Singapore GP attracted 480 million television viewers worldwide in total. Singapore will host the race till 2017 at least, having last extended its five-year contract in 2012. Over the last five years, each race weekend has attracted about $150 million in extra tourism receipts.

SIA will look to build on its F1 tie-up, which first took flight in April last year. Having decked two of its Hop-on buses that ferry passengers to various tourist attractions with the F1 livery, the concept could be expanded to its jets this year. Besides race merchandise, it has also sold all-in-one travel packages comprising airfare, accommodation and admission to the Marina Bay Street Circuit, aimed squarely at F1 hotbeds Britain, Germany and Australia.

High-end packages, which cost upwards of $20,000, see racegoers flying first class and hosted at a premium trackside hotel, with admission to a hospitality suite and the exclusive Podium and Amber lounges.

Singapore GP chairman Teo Hock Seng said: "It has been a great partnership with this iconic brand and we are delighted to have Singapore Airlines extend for another two years as title sponsor.

"We look forward to jointly promoting Singapore at its very best to a global audience."

At this year's edition, from Sept 18 to 20, fans are set to be treated to another heated battle between Mercedes' title-chasing rivals, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. American rock band Bon Jovi will headline the off-track entertainment. More than 84,450 tickets were sold for last year's edition - slightly lower than the previous year but the third-highest attendance since 100,000 thronged the inaugural race.

This weekend, SIA will host a carnival called Light Up The Night, giving the public access to the Pit Building, where they can have a go at driving simulators and watch a supercar parade as well as stunt-driving displays.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2015, with the headline 'SIA extends S'pore GP sponsorship to 2017'. Print Edition | Subscribe