FAS' record deal paves way for high-profile games

SINGAPORE - The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) yesterday signed the biggest commercial deal for the sport here yesterday with international sports media rights company MP & Silva in a six-year contract worth $25 million.

It eclipses the previous $15 million, 10-year sponsorship signed in 2001 with Tiger Beer.

The agency will take charge of the global media rights to the Singapore national and age-group teams, the sponsorship opportunities, and organise friendly matches for the teams.

With the long-term deal in place, MP & Silva will be able to ensure that local fans enjoy a full calendar of high-profile sporting events at the National Stadium.

Said its founding partner Andrea Radrizzani: "Before, the approach was more opportunistic, more ad hoc; whereas now, we can be more proactive and plan for a six-year timeline."

The firm is aiming to stage between four and six matches annually involving the Lions and world-class national teams like England and Argentina as well as top international club sides.

A tournament involving the Lions and top Asian clubs is targeted to coincide with next year's Chinese New Year, while a pre-season invitational com- petition, similar to the Emirates Cup that features English side Arsenal and three other European clubs, is in the works for July next year.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong called it a "landmark and milestone deal" at the signing ceremony at FAS' headquarters at Jalan Besar Stadium .

"We think it's a significant vote of confidence in Singapore football. We look forward to this catalysing and motivating further development in football, particular for youth development, which is an area we are focusing on."

The FAS will be tapping MP & Silva's extensive network - it distributes the media rights in Asia for several European football leagues, including those in Italy and Spain - to open new doors for players. Said FAS president Zainudin Nordin: "We are delighted to work with them to revolutionise the way we market football and promote our national teams and enhance fan support and engagement."

MP & Silva, whose annual revenue is more than US$650 million (S$879 million) and is based in both London and Singapore, has been expanding its reach in what it sees as a growing South-east Asia market. Last month, it signed a 15-year, RM1.26 billion (S$470 million) deal with the Football Association of Malaysia.

Mr Radrizzani said media consumption among the region's expanding middle class is changing - that group can afford and want more say in what it watches.

"And the best product for pay TV here is football," he added.

This article was first published on February 03, 2015.
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