Football: Young Lions ink record sponsorship deal with Garena

Garena founder Forrest Li (second from left) speaking about the record sponsorship deal at a press conference on Tuesday (Feb 2).
Garena founder Forrest Li (second from left) speaking about the record sponsorship deal at a press conference on Tuesday (Feb 2). PHOTO: @STSPORTSDESK/TWITTER

Singapore - Internet and mobile platform company Garena on Tuesday inked a $4 million, two-year deal with S-League side Young Lions, the country's developmental team comprising mostly members of the Singapore Under-21 side.

The partnership includes a $2 million cash sponsorship, while the other $2 million will be used for developmental programmes for the squad. The team will be also known as the Garena Young Lions, and they will don shirts emblazoned with the Shopee brand for the new season, which kicks off on Feb 13. Shopee is Garena's mobile-centric online marketplace.

Mr Forrest Li, founder and group chief executive officer of Garena, said: "The Young Lions sponsorship is a natural choice for us as they embody teamwork, creativity and the pursuit of excellence - qualities that Garena values both on the field and in the workplace."

Zainudin Nordin, president of the Football Association of Singapore, said: "The money will be spent wisely on the development of our most promising players and to build the next generation of national team players."

Zainudin added he hopes more corporates would come on board to support local football.

The Young Lions were previously sponsored by household appliance and furniture retailer Courts. The Straits Times reported last month that Courts would not renew the partnership for a sixth season this year.

The team finished ninth in the 10-team S-League last season, but are currently without a head coach following the departure of Juergen Rabb who returned to his native Germany in December.

The Garena Young Lions kick off their season with a home match against Balestier Khalsa at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Feb 14.

Tampines Rovers have also secured close to $1 million in sponsorship, although that is with several commercial partners.