Football: S-League firmly on the go

Title favourites Tampines’ star import Jermaine Pennant autographing his photo on an SMRT train before it was put straight into service. Match highlights will be shown on TV screens on MRT platforms, while posters will also be put up at train stati
Title favourites Tampines’ star import Jermaine Pennant autographing his photo on an SMRT train before it was put straight into service. Match highlights will be shown on TV screens on MRT platforms, while posters will also be put up at train stations near the nine clubs’ respective home stadiums. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

3-year link-up with SMRT will promote local football across network and stations

The S-League is set to gain a greater presence and visibility in the everyday lives of Singaporeans, following a new tie-up with SMRT.

With a three-year partnership inked between the league and the local transport operator yesterday, the league and its players will be promoted across SMRT's commercial and retail network that includes its train stations, businesses and shops.

With more than two million passengers using SMRT's transport network daily, it will be hard for commuters to miss the S-League's presence during their daily travels.

For a start, a train sporting the logos and photos of selected players from each of the nine clubs will ply the East-West Line until April 7.

Match highlights will be shown on TV screens on MRT platforms from next Thursday, while posters will also be put up at train stations closest to the clubs' respective home stadiums.

Key matches such as tonight's Community Shield match between Albirex Niigata and Brunei DPMM will also be promoted. There are also plans to hold meet-and-greet sessions with S-League players.

Said Lim Kia Tong, vice-president of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS): "This partnership will help us to reach out to more people. More Singaporeans will be able to feel the excitement of the S-League."

The tie-up, at an undisclosed amount, is the biggest since SMRT began supporting local football in 2003.

It also has existing partnerships with Sport Singapore and the Singapore Swimming Association.

Dawn Low, SMRT's commercial marketing director, said: "This partnership has been a year in the making. We have discussed extensively... to brainstorm on how to bring the love of football to the heartland in their daily commute. We believe that football will resonate with a lot of Singaporeans."

At the Marina South Pier MRT station where the deal was officially signed yesterday afternoon, players were thrilled as they signed autographs on their respective photos displayed in the train, before it went straight into service.

Garena Young Lions' striker Khairul Amri said: "It will create more awareness that the league exists and it's going through a facelift."

Tampines Rovers' new star signing Jermaine Pennant joked: "I'm going to be the first thing they see in the morning and last thing they see at night. I feel sorry for them.

"But I hope putting my face out there will bring people to come to support and watch the matches."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2016, with the headline 'S-league firmly on the go'. Print Edition | Subscribe