SBJ/June 17-23, 2013/Facilities

Bank puts name on two new Singapore venues, existing arena

The Singapore Sports Hub has a memorandum of understanding in place with OCBC Bank to buy naming rights to three specific venues in the massive $1.5 billion complex.

The 15-year deal has a total value stretching into eight figures, and it will rename the Singapore Indoor Stadium, a 24-year-old arena and the only existing venue among the eight facilities tied to the sports hub, said Mark Collins, Global Spectrum’s managing director of the complex.

Construction on the National Stadium and other buildings on the site continues.
Photo by: SINGAPORE SPORTS HUB
In addition, two smaller multipurpose arenas will carry the bank’s brand, including one used to train Olympic athletes, Collins said. Global Spectrum has a 25-year deal to run the sports hub as part of the public-private consortium developing the property.

The sports hub has a target opening of March 26. The naming-rights agreement is expected to close by Sept. 1, so project officials can begin marketing all the facilities by their official titles, Collins said.

The memorandum, signed in late May, comes about nine months after OCBC Bank had an agreement in place to put its name on the entire campus, but that deal was killed by local government officials.

Under terms of the sports hub development, naming rights could not be sold for the entire complex, which includes the 55,000-seat National Stadium, future home of two Singapore pro soccer teams and a rugby club, as well as the island’s national soccer team.

“In Asia, these larger buildings are considered national icons and in general there are no naming rights associated with any of their national stadiums,” Collins said.

Despite the initial confusion over which facilities could be named for a corporate entity, OCBC Bank was undeterred by the setback and went back to the bargaining table with World Sport Group, the sports marketing firm holding all commercial rights to the sports hub.

Working with Adrian Staiti, World Sport Group senior vice president and formerly of Front Row Marketing, the bank signed the memorandum covering the three buildings.

The tentative deal stamps them with the brand of Singapore’s second-biggest bank. For the past two years, OCBC Bank, which stands for Oversea-China Banking Corp., has topped Bloomberg Markets’ list as the world’s strongest bank and has more than $100 billion in assets.

“I give a lot of credit to OCBC for sticking with it,” Collins said.

The National Stadium, designed by Arup, the same firm that developed the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube for the Beijing Olympics, is the centerpiece of the sports hub.

As of mid-June, World Sport Group had sold all but five of the stadium’s 61 suites, situated on the fifth level. The deals carry a minimum three-year commitment and sell for $70,000 a year to $265,000 annually, Collins said. Suites range from eight to 30 seats.

The marketing of 7,000 club seats on the stadium’s fourth floor just recently launched, he said.

OCBC Bank is also a major sponsor of cycling events in Singapore and Malaysia.

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