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The life insurance company will partner with the local league for a sixth consecutive year, with S.League CEO declaring that there will be an increased focus on engaging fans

We will focus on the fans. That was the key message S.League CEO Lim Chin delivered earlier this morning at a press conference, which saw Great Eastern extend their co-title sponsorship with the league for one year.

Lim was present at the event at Great Eastern's office together with Football Association of Singapore President Zainudin Nordin, Great Eastern CEO Dr. Khoo Kah Siang and CMO Colin Chan, which sees the life insurance company continue its support for the S.League for a sixth consecutive season into 2014.

No figures were released, although a previous two-year renewal in 2012 was worth $1million. YEO's is the other co-title sponsor.

"It has been a fruitful partnership for both parties over the years and our association with the S.League has helped us to bring the Great Eastern brand closer to the community," Dr. Khoo stated, adding that it was in line with the company's aim of promoting healthy living through sports.

"Where we get a lot of alignment in value is in the outreach to the community using football as a key platform in a lot of our other engagements," Chan added.

When asked why the deal was only for a year, Dr. Khoo said the company simply wanted to focus solely on 2014 to "see how we can work together" and stated that they would always be open to further opportunities.

Zainudin described FAS as being "delighted and heartened" at the extension and hopes the S.League will build on the increase of 40% in attendances on 2013 that it achieved last year.

"The football has been most exhilarating, the atmosphere electrifying and of course what we are trying to do now more and more is about the fans’ involvement," he said, terming the fans as the "12th man".

And a slew of new initiatives will be launched to achieve exactly that, according to Lim. Clappers with match programmes printed on them, including previews and pictures of players, will be given out at games. A food initiative will feature "kacang puteh nights" and other snacks like ice cream and burgers, while tickets can also be redeemed for movie tickets and coffee vouchers, for example. The newly launched club mascots will feature hugely in the match experience as well, while fans will also be engaged online.

"Off the pitch, we want to focus a lot on match experience as a key focus for this season to ensure all fans, when they come to the stadium, have a very positive match experience," he asserted.

"We are going to have match highlight videos, maybe 12 hours after a match; I am trying to bring it (the time lag) down. The second one we are going to launch this week is an application on iPhones, with more details later, and also our Fantasy League."

Tanjong Pagar United chairman Edward Liu called on Dr. Khoo and Great Eastern to take the lead in encouraging more corporate organisations to come forward to support the S.League, with the latter and Lim both agreeing in response that the extent of media coverage will play a vital part in that.

"This year, we hope to work even harder to strive to improve," Lim concluded.

The 2014 S.League season will kick off with the Charity Shield between Tampines Roves and Home United this Friday, February 21, at the Jalan Besar Stadium at 7.30p.m.

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