SEA Games organisers seek $50m home sponsorship

SEA Games organisers seek $50m home sponsorship
The SEA Games volunteers posed with the mascot at the Suranaree University of Technology, Korat Thailand. They are helping the media getting their accreditation passes at one of the Accreditation Centres. [24th SEA Games]

The call is out to homegrown companies to leave their mark when the SEA Games come to Singapore in 2015.

Organisers yesterday set a $50 million goal in both cash and value-in-kind sponsorship, targeting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who want to be a part of this event, which coincides with celebrations of Singapore's 50th year of independence.

The 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, for example, attracted some 80 sponsors and marketing partners to the tune of over $80 million.

The SEA Games - which were last held here in 1993 - will be an ideal platform for brands to reach out to the 600 million populace across South-east Asia, officials said.

"All eyes in the region will be on Singapore, so this is the perfect opportunity for smaller businesses with limited sponsorship budgets to get in touch with a wide audience," said Richard Seow, chairman of the 2015 SEA Games sponsorship and marketing advisory sub-committee.

"Sport has immense potential as a vehicle to enhance brand image and activate marketing and corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities."

The 10-man committee, which comprises business heavyweights such as DBS chief executive Piyush Gupta, is already engaging over 100 local and multi-national companies to gather feedback on packages that will interest them.

It also tackles the issue of why SMEs traditionally shy away from sports sponsorship.

Said committee member Chan Chong Beng, who is also president of the Association of SMEs: "There used to be a feeling among SMEs that major sports events belong to the big boys.

"But many forward-looking companies are beginning to see sport as a powerful branding platform and how it will ultimately strengthen their bottomline."

Chan added that being attached to a regional event such as the SEA Games also ties in with the Government's push for SMEs to broaden their reach abroad.

With packages starting from as low as $50,000, companies can join one of four tiers, from official supporters to main sponsors, which entail more sponsorship inventory and better mileage.

The 2015 SEA Games are expected to draw some 7,000 athletes and officials to local shores. The multi-sports extravaganza which features more than 30 sports will be staged at the upcoming Sports Hub in Kallang.

In response to feedback from companies, long-term programmes will also be tailor-made for specific sports and venues.

For example, a corporation with interest in aquatic sports can have its branding attached to such events not just at the Games, but also at future local competitions.

SMEs which The Straits Times spoke to welcomed the variety of sponsorship packages available, but also called for support for Singapore businesses.

"It's good that organisers don't just sell one-size-fits-all packages, but they should also keep costs reasonable and help local companies as much as they can, since this is being billed as a Singapore event," said Eric Pang, marketing manager of electronics firm HubEnterprise.

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