The upcoming SEA Games got a big lift on Thursday when global payments company UnionPay International (UPI) came onboard as the official payment systems sponsor.
It will not only provide a cash sponsorship of $1 million but also plans to offer free hot-air balloon rides to members of the public at a Games carnival at the Sports Hub from May 31 to June 16.
The company will also sponsor the cost of publicising the Games on 300 buses which will be used to ferry the more than 7,000 athletes and officials.
These initiatives by UPI were praised by Mr Lim Teck Yin, chairman of the Singapore South-east Asean Games organising committee.
"Even as we host a traditional multi-sport event like the South-east Asian Games that is in its 28th edition, the sports community and the sports industry in South-east Asia has been waking up to the idea that the real potential for partnership in business lies in South-east Asian sporting organisations coming together to organise events."
The UPI sponsorship is seen as heralding a greater wave of participation in regional sporting events by global companies, and he hopes that it will be the start of a long relationship.
The hot-air balloon ride is pending approval by the authorities.