Singapore Airlines and Singapore GP is a partnership made in cross promotion heaven

From left to right in black suits, Mr Michael Roche, Executive Director of Singapore GP, Mr Goh Choon  Phong, Singapore Airlines CEO, Mr Ong Beng Seng from Singapore GP and Mr Stephen Lee, Chairman of Singapore Airlines, take a group photo with
From left to right in black suits, Mr Michael Roche, Executive Director of Singapore GP, Mr Goh Choon  Phong, Singapore Airlines CEO, Mr Ong Beng Seng from Singapore GP and Mr Stephen Lee, Chairman of Singapore Airlines, take a group photo with the stewardesses. Singapore Airlines is the new title sponsor of the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, in an announcement on April 15, 2014. The night race has made Singapore a sexy destination, which dovetails nicely with Singapore Airlines raison d'etre. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM 

It promises to be quite the mouthful, the title of Formula One Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix.

But as the sport’s first night race enters into a new two-year title sponsorship deal with Singapore Airlines, it is easy to see why many believe that the pair are a natural fit.

After all, who better to partner the F1, the Republic’s biggest spinner of tourism dollars, to than the country's world-famous carrier?

Ong Beng Seng, the chairman of race organiser Singapore GP, suggested as much at the agreement’s announcement on Tuesday morning, when he described the partnership as a “synergistic” one.

Since its inception in 2008, the night race has put Singapore on the map; look up images of the Grand Prix and invariably, the Singapore Flyer and the city skyline will make a cameo. The images conjure a place full of opportunities to enjoy, relax and unwind, thereby drawing tourists to the Republic, preferably via the SIA planes.

It is sights like these, aired around the world every third weekend of September, that SIA will doubtless have been keen on associating themselves with – even to the tune of what is believed to be US$10 million (S$12.47 million) a year.

And if that is the sort of mileage the airline stands to gain from this partnership, one can only imagine how the Singapore race can leverage the reach of its new title sponsor.

Imagine if SIA featured videos of the Grand Prix on its in-flight entertainment system. That transates to a global audience across over 60 destinations and more than 30 countries.

It represents the sort of extended reach that the race could hitherto only dream of – even as it looks to add to the 116 different countries that produced visitors to the 2013 edition.

But while the deal between Singapore GP and SIA makes sense, it is also one that will have raised a few eyebrows.

Over the years, the latter has steered clear of lending its name to local sporting events.

In fact, with the exception of horse-racing’s Singapore Airlines International Cup and KrisFlyer International Sprint, SIA’s involvement in sport has been limited to a more supporting role.

These include serving as the official airline for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, as well as offering national bowlers an increased luggage allowance when travelling to and from competitions.

In light of this, SIA’s decision to add to more "horsepower" to its stable of sports events could come across as a bold first step to widen its sponsorship endeavours.

Let's hope for success in this latest partnership, so that our beloved national carrier can be inspired to help local sports climb to even bigger heights.

fabiusc@sph.com.sg

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