$50m naming deal for Hub, but 'no to stadium branding'

$50m naming deal for Hub, but 'no to stadium branding'
(From left) Singapore Sports Hub CEO Philippe Collin Delavaud, World Sport Group CEO Andrew Georgiou and OCBC chairman Cheong Choong Kong looking at the progress of construction work on the main stadium of the Sports Hub. It is slated to be opened in April.

SINGAPORE - The new National Stadium and the Singapore Indoor Stadium (SIS) will remain off-limits to commercial branding, even as OCBC Group sealed a landmark $50 million naming rights deal with the Singapore Sports Hub on Monday.

The 15-year contract will allow the group - which includes OCBC Bank, its private banking arm Bank of Singapore and its insurance subsidiary Great Eastern Holdings - to name various venues within the 35ha facility, such as the sports hall (OCBC Arena) and aquatic centre (OCBC Aquatic Centre). The deal is the first in Singapore allowing a public sports facility to be named after a commercial entity and paves the way for more sports venue naming rights deals.

But even if the Government is open to more such partnerships, the iconic National Stadium and the SIS will be off-limits.

They could, however, be named after personalities in the future, said Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong on the sidelines of Monday's signing ceremony at the Sports Hub's Experience Centre.

"We also may have the possibility of either the National Stadium or Indoor Stadium being named after a personality, for example, someone we wish to commemorate or remember," he said.

While the naming rights for the National Stadium were never in the shop window for sponsors, it was decided only in the later stages of talks that the SIS should be included in the same category.

Money from the OCBC deal, the single biggest sponsorship deal here, will be used to run grassroots events like sports clinics at the Sports Hub. Said OCBC chairman Cheong Choong Kong: "Our sponsorship money will be primarily channelled to fund activities that the community can participate in, activities that are typically not commercially viable for operators to organise."

The Sports Hub, which is under a 25-year public-private partnership scheme, is set to open in April with a community sports event as its first main draw.

maychen@sph.com.sg


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