The Singapore arm of pan-Asian insurance firm AIA Group has signed a new title sponsor deal with Singapore’s only professional football league, the Singapore Premier League.
Under the two-year deal, the soccer league will be renamed as the AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL), and Singapore’s annual cup-winners’ cup will be renamed as the AIA Community Shield.
AIA will also get back-of-shirt branding at all nine SPL clubs, and will provide insurance coverage to all SPL players.
Previously, Korean car brand Hyundai and Singapore insurance firm Great Eastern were co-title sponsors of the SPL.
Patrick Teow, chief executive of AIA Singapore, said: “AIA’s strong ties with football through our global partnership with Tottenham Hotspur make supporting local football a natural choice for AIA Singapore.
“We are also exploring opportunities to tap into our Spurs partnership to provide Singapore opportunities to engage with the English Premier League club, particularly ahead of their tour of Asia this year.”
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In the last 12 months, AIA’s sponsorship presence in Southeast Asia has shifted away from Thailand, where it had previously dominated, towards Singapore.
In 2016, according to Asia Sponsorship News, AIA was the second-highest spender in Thai sports sponsorship, but by the end of 2018, the insurance brand did not even feature in the top 10.
AIA’s huge drop in partnership spend in Thailand is due to the expiry of its flagship deal with the Football Association of Thailand.
The deal gave AIA branding rights at 34 top Thai football clubs, but it expired in 2017 and was not renewed. In 2013, AIA Thailand chief executive Ron van Oijen told the Bangkok Post the deal was worth $12.9m per year.
Elsewhere in 2018, Thai energy drink brand Carabao and German sportswear brand adidas made it into Thailand’s top 10 sponsors for the first time.
Toyota was the highest-spender, followed by Chang, PTT Petroleum and Singha respectively.
In 2018, Toyota spent more than $11.7m on Thai sports sponsorship, Chang spent more than $10.3m and PTT Petroleum spent more than $7.3m.