SINGAPORE - Just hours before the 2019 Singapore Premier League (SPL) kicked off with the Community Shield on Saturday (Feb 23), the country's only professional sports league received a boost with the unveiling of a new title sponsor.
AIA Singapore inked a two-year deal and the insurance group's logo will be emblazoned on the back of the jerseys of all nine clubs.
AIA, who are also the shirt sponsors of English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur and had appointed David Beckham as its ambassador, takes over from previous co-title sponsors Great Eastern and Hyundai.
Although details of the sponsorship were not disclosed at the signing ceremony at Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday, The Sunday Times understands that not only will the company provide insurance coverage for SPL players, the deal includes a cash component as well.
Patrick Teow, chief executive officer of AIA Singapore, said: "This sponsorship is not just about the money, we want to put in time and effort to help the Singapore Premier League reach its objectives.
"The FAS' (Football Association of Singapore) values are aligned with ours, so it was a natural choice for us to work with them."
AIA, which is celebrating its centennial in 2019, will work with FAS for opportunities to leverage on the SPL clubs' ties with the communities and schools to encourage youth development and conduct other outreach activities to promote an active and healthy lifestyle.
FAS president Lim Kia Tong said: "With AIA Singapore's existing ties to football and notable presence in the Asia-Pacific region, we believe that this partnership will help us to achieve our goal of improving the vibrancy of local football and raising the standards of football in Singapore.
"In line with the FAS' objective of increasing participation at the grassroots level, there are plans to work together to reach out and target the community, especially the youth.
"I am certain that, together with AIA Singapore, we will be able to do more and we look forward to having a fruitful partnership."
In a statement, Great Eastern's managing director for group marketing Colin Chan said: "We are proud to have supported the League for 10 years and it is timely for us to hand over the baton....We wish Singapore Premier League all the best in its future endeavours."