The saviour of FAS is an international media rights group
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has just inked a deal worth more than $25 million with MP & Silva, a London-based media rights company.
International football fans (i.e. fans of any team beside Singapore) can rejoice as under the deal, international teams like England, Spain and Italy will be brought to Singapore to play
beach football at the National Stadium, hopefully every year.
Here are some other facts about the deal:
- MP & Silva will cover the global media rights for Singapore’s national and age-group teams
- They will restructure the FAS’ sponsorship packages (which must have been really lacking)
- MP & Silva will seek development opportunities for national teams and players
- Opportunities for overseas training stints for Singapore’s national players, including the Belgian league, where discussions are under way for a possible collaboration for the next six years.
Thoughts about Singapore’s market and the need for stability
“It is very difficult financially, but if you don’t bring top-class teams in — and the market in Singapore is very sophisticated — they won’t care. We must be creative and have long-term deals with the teams we bring in.”
MP & Silva Co-Founder Andrea Radrizzani
On the FAS’s ambitions
FAS President Zainudin Nordin admitted that the FAS lacked the required resources to implement its Strategic Plan, which was first unveiled in 2010. He also admitted that FAS’ deals thus far had been ad-hoc and opportunistic (i.e. sporadic and short-term); something MP & Silva hopes to correct. Maybe searching for and implementing sustainable funding wasn’t part of the plan.
So when FAS drew up the great Strategic Plan, in reality this was what they were doing:
And after five years of doing diddly squat amidst ever-dropping attendance rates and clubs so financially hard-up that they have to quit the scene, in comes MP & Silva, dispensing the cash money.
On MP & Silva’s investment in Singapore’s floundering football scene:
Radrizzani also had the following to say:
“We decided to invest because football is the No 1 sport in terms of followers and interest. At the same time, we believe there is a lack of planning and professional management in terms of event line-ups, and this is the area that will engage sponsors and partners the most. This is the first step — providing visibility to sponsors.
“I don’t think we are going to be profitable in the short term, but this could be a very important long-term project, and one we can replicate in other countries with profits.”
“Everybody keeps saying Singapore is not the best market for sponsors, because it is very small, but this is the spotlight in Asia. And we have the new iconic National Stadium that we can utilise,”
Most Singaporeans may not see the National Stadium as anything but a beach with a roof on top, but there is a lot of drawing power which MP & Silva is likely to use to leverage for better deals, both in Singapore and in Asia.
First step for FAS in gaining sponsors
If everything goes well, FAS will gain more sponsors with which they can use to improve the S-League. Three years on, the LionsXII project is already in steady decline and more money needs to be pumped into the S-League, instead of relying on nostalgic Malaysian Cup victories (which can’t even be replicated now).
Star power may bring in fans in the short-term, but consistency is key if the FAS wants to make the local football scene match international standards. Thankfully, MP & Silva seems savvy and connected enough to make the deal work.