Despite attempts by various parties here, corporate involvement in sport remains small compared to Europe, the US and Australia.
It is an area where Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck hopes to make a difference.
Speaking to The New Paper at the Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix over the weekend, Teo said he wants to initiate and build a network of companies to support athletes.
Said the avid triathlete: "I think companies are keen but it would take time to convince a larger number of corporations to come in and support sports. I hope to encourage this business network to support athletes for a start, and hopefully it will help the entire system when they start to believe and understand sports through the efforts of the athletes."
He cited the example of marathoner Mok Ying Ren, who is putting his medical career on hold to train for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
"He went out to raise funds for 2016 and got the sponsors; there is that belief he can realise his dream and they are willing to support him all the way," said Teo.
A sponsorship survey done ahead of the unveiling of the new Asian Sponsorship Association - at the inaugural Sports Matters conference here last week - revealed that companies are open to sponsorships.
But some have been hesitant to pump resources into sports here as they are not clear about the returns or metrics for success, something the new association hopes to address.
Giles Morgan, global head of sponsorship and events for HSBC, said: "There is definitely huge growth potential for sport in Asia.
"Historically, many of the world's top sporting events have been in Europe or the US - such as the golf Majors and the premium football tournaments and leagues.
"A real opportunity exists for countries in Asia, as economic growth continues, to stage more world-class events.
"Countries like China, Singapore and India can utilise sport to highlight and showcase themselves on the world stage."
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