StarHub takes big leap into sports

StarHub takes big leap into sports
(Above, from left) Singapore Sports Hub chief executive Philippe Delavaud, StarHub chief executive officer Tan Tong Hai, WTA Championships tournament director Melissa Pine and World Sport Group’s Adrian Staiti.

StarHub yesterday announced two "significant investments", one with the Singapore Sports Hub and the other, with the Women's Tennis Association (WTA).

The telco became the official telecommunications partner of the Sports Hub for the next seven years, and the official broadcasting partner for the WTA Tour for the next five years.

It will also become the official telecommunications partner of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore, presented by SC Global, from Oct 17 to 26 at the Indoor Stadium.

StarHub chief executive officer Tan Tong Hai declined to reveal the sponsorship figures, but described it as a "significant investment", which The New Paper understands to amount to a seven-figure sum.

MEETING DEMANDS

Tan said he was looking forward to meeting the demands of changing viewer consumption habits with the Sports Hub deal. He said: "Nowadays, people don't just watch sports events, they want to capture the moments too.

"We're talking about using technology to complement the viewing behaviour. It will be a huge technological challenge, but it's one we will take up.

"We want to redefine the sports viewing experience," Tan said, adding that the telco provide the Sports Hub with all telecommunications services.

As part of their partnership with the Sports Hub, StarHub will receive branding rights to the National Stadium's South West Gate entrance, and one of the stadium's four 30-seater corporate hospitality suites.

With their agreement with the WTA, StarHub will broadcast the WTA Finals Singapore 'live' and free on its dedicated sports channel SuperSports Arena.

"There has to be a build-up," Tan said of the US$6.5 million ($8.1m) event, which may see stars like Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova compete.

"You don't just watch the (football) World Cup final. If you've watched from the first of the 64 matches and you've seen the road to the final, you'll know why people are so passionate. It's the same (with the WTA Tour).

"We also have a lot of ideas... (to) inspire the young. We want to bring the stars to the youth, to the schools and, hopefully, to charitable homes to bring a smile to the less fortunate.

INSPIRING

"The concept of this partnership is not just about the event, but also the festivities, bringing it to the people and inspiring more people to enjoy the sport."

Calling their partnership with StarHub "special", Sports Hub chief executive Philippe Collin Delavaud said: "We see this newly-founded partnership as a perfect fit, as both of us share a strong passion of making sports accessible to all.

"We are confident this partnership will be a catalyst for the emergence of sport in Singapore, and provide a platform to elevate the Singapore sporting ecosystem on a regional and global scale."

Adrian Staiti, senior vice-president of global partnerships for World Sport Group, event promoters of the WTA Finals Singapore, said: "It's encouraging to see a home-grown brand like StarHub take a leading role in positively shaping the future of sports in Singapore."

msazali@sph.com.sg

This article was first published on July 18, 2014.
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