(Reuters) - Singapore's top soccer league pulled off a major coup by getting South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co on board as the new co-title sponsor, replacing food and beverage company Yeo Hiap Seng.
Hyundai signed a two-year deal as co-title sponsor for the competition, which will now be known as the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League, the country's football association (FAS) said in a statement on Thursday.
"We are delighted to welcome Hyundai Motors on board as co-title sponsors of the S.League," said Lim Kia Tong, President of the FAS Provisional Council.
"The fact that a leading multinational company like Hyundai is willing to back the league strongly and wants to be part of Singapore football shows the strength of the competition, and we are appreciative of their support."
While the English Premier League enjoys a huge following in Singapore, with Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool the most popular teams, the domestic game has been battling falling attendances and dwindling television ratings.
Singapore's Today newspaper reported earlier this week that Yeo's, the S.League's longest-running corporate backers and co-title sponsors for the past 13 seasons, was reluctant to renew it's sponsorship agreement.
"Great Eastern has been supporting the S.League for the past eight years," said Khor Hock Seng, group CEO of life insurance company Great Eastern Holdings.
"As the longest-standing sponsor of the S.League, we welcome corporations like Hyundai in coming forward to join us to support local football. This augurs well for the development of the sport as a whole."
The nine-team S.League season kicks off on Sunday, with the Community Shield between champions Albirex Niigata (S) and Tampines Rovers.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)