With the sporting action getting under way in just under a year, the NTUC FairPrice group has signed on as the first main sponsor of the 2015 SEA Games.
Announced yesterday at the FairPrice Xtra store at Nex, the S$5 million pledge is a joint initiative by the retailer and its charity arm, FairPrice Foundation.
"We want to be part of Singapore's 50th anniversary and, at the same time, believe in the value of sport," FairPrice chairman Ng Ser Miang said of the tie-up, which is the group's largest involvement in a sporting event to date.
The terms of the agreement include S$2 million in cash from the foundation and S$3 million in kind from the retailer.
It represents the first significant step towards meeting the Games organising committee's sponsorship target of S$50 million.
"I don't want to jinx it but we should be able to hit that target," said Richard Seow, chairman of the sponsorship and marketing advisory sub-committee.
"We're in some conversations that are going well and expect to make a few more announcements over the next several weeks."
With packages starting at S$50,000, the SEA Games sponsorship programme consists of four tiers - from official supporters to main sponsors.
However, the FairPrice group's commitment, which meets the minimum Tier One value of S$5 million, promises to bring more than cash or kind to the first Games that Singapore is hosting since 1993.
There is potential to do more, given that more than 500,000 customers pass through its near-300 supermarkets and convenience stores each day.
"If you look at the number of customers that NTUC touches on a daily basis, it gives us a tremendous outreach into the community," Seow pointed out.
"Whether it's through special events or promotions, we'll work with NTUC to figure out how best to activate this sponsorship."
Ng pledged to leverage the cooperative's status as Singapore's largest retailer to generate buzz in the lead-up to the biennial Games.
"We want to go into community engagement to encourage Singaporeans to support the SEA Games and our athletes who will be competing," he said.
A former national sailor, the 65-year-old spearheaded the Republic's hosting of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010 and has served as vice-president of the Singapore National Olympic Council since 1990.
But it is unclear if he will continue in that role, with Ng revealing yesterday that he is still undecided about running for re-election at the SNOC's annual general meeting on June 30.
"I'm talking to various potential candidates before I make a decision," he said.
"But whatever it is, being an International Olympic Committee member (as finance commission chief), I will still be involved."
This article was first published on JUNE 25, 2014.
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