Time and time again, one see fans calling for local companies, especially the GLCs (Government-Linked companies) like Singtel or DBS etc, to support local football as foreign companies in the Republic are more supportive like RHB, who is from across the Causeway.
But I have given up that view as just a few months a GLC, SIA, already show me, like fellow Singaporean who only support another island football, they are indeed a Singaporean company as they only view foreigners as worthy of sponsoring, never local.
No doubt, it never cross their mind to sponsor locals as they rather looked overseas first, or only, when sponsoring sports and why it is so as they could have easily consider both local and foreign dual sponsorship thus benefitting their brand name in both lands. (Although I have to fair and acknowledged local companies like Yeo’s and Great Eastern for doing actually that and showing people they are Singaporean)
That why the Gombak-Erke deal show us where S-league future really lie.
It is in China SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) like Erke for having established themselves in their home region; they now wishes to expand outwards but faced a public relation problem as Chinese brands have suffered due to their association with safety problems.
In the same breath, Singapore brand name is opposite of their as it is well respected in the Asian region as the PAP government have poured in much efforts, since independence, to ensure others see Singapore as efficient, safe, trustworthy and incorruptible and local companies have benefitted from that.
That why China SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) want a piece of that reputation as well and S-league should explore that as Gombak is really showing us the benefits.
The size of the deal itself is already amazing as local apparel sponsorship are only in the region of five-figure sum but Erke deal is valued at about $600,000 - for 3 years - which is six times bigger than Home United $90000 deal with Kappa.
Six-figure sum are meant for main sponsorship but Erke has blow that away and no wonder as the size of China economy, as Asian biggest and the world second largest, mean they consider such sums a small prize to pay to piggyback on Singapore reputation back home (where Singapore brand name is very popular) and in Asia.
Indeed, this is Gombak United second deal with a Chinese company; the first back in 2008 with a Chinese developer who wanted to use
If S-league fully explores that relationship then main sponsorship for clubs in the seven-figure region are not unimaginable as Chinese companies have that money and they will use it if they believed it is enhancing their company brand name.
Then, S-league can compete; not just in the ASEAN region but in the Asian arena as well as that inflow of money will allow us to strengthen ourselves.
That why, local clubs and even FAS should picked up the phone and called John Yap now as S-league future is in the land of the dragons.