Singapore may sell first stadium naming rights

Singapore football fans could soon be heading for the Courts Toa Payoh Stadium to support S-League side Courts Toa Payoh Central. Today newspaper reported that that Courts is negotiating with the Football Association of Singapore and Balestier Khalsa for branding rights of the club, as well as naming rights of the club's home stadium. The Singapore Sports Council is the owner of all public stadiums and sports complexes in the country. Sources have revealed that through marketing agents IMG, the council is close to securing a multi-million-dollar deal with a major company interested in securing naming rights to one of the country's sports complexes.

When contacted by the newspaper, Courts CEO Terry O'Connor refused to reveal details of the negotiations, although he said that if the proposal was accepted, it "will change the face of football sponsorship in Singapore". It is believed the proposal includes renaming Toa Payoh Stadium to Courts Toa Payoh Stadium, while S-League club Balestier Khalsa, the current tenants, will become Courts Toa Payoh Central. If successful, the stadium, which is approximately 300 metres from a Courts outlet at the HDB Hub at Toa Payoh Central, will be painted yellow, the corporate colour of the company.

"It will be a shot in the arm for the S-League if a company such as Courts puts its faith in the S-League, but I must stress that negotiations are still in the early stages," FAS president Ho Peng Kee said. It is believed the sponsorship deal must run for a minimum of three years and could be worth at least S$1 million. Club sponsorships are currently estimated at around S$200,000 per year. "If this takes off in the S-League, it could get other big companies to sit up and take notice. "The ideas are radical, but exciting and very different. Ultimately, sports will benefit from more corporate involvement," Balestier Khalsa Chairman Balbeer Singh Mangat commented.

SSC CEO Oon Jin Teik said marketing of properties such as stadia and sports complexes was a means to raise more funds for sports and give corporate supporters extra mileage. "Through the municipal marketing initiative, we aim to engage the private sector to play a bigger role in growing the Singapore sports industry by leveraging on our asset base of sports facilities and amenities as advertising, promotion and branding platforms. It allows SSC to generate the funding and resources to further drive other initiatives under the three strategic thrusts of increasing sports participation, driving sports excellence and growing the sports industry. It also helps to grow a self-sustaining sports ecosystem by generating funds and resources from commercial sources, over and beyond what the Government is currently providing," he said.