Singapore technology firm Sea, formerly known as Garena, has bought Singapore Premier League club Home United.
With the change in ownership, Home United will change its name to Lion City Sailors Football Club. Sea’s group chief executive Forrest Li is to be chairman of the club.
Sea is the parent company of Asian e-commerce marketplace Shopee, gaming and digital services company Garena, and digital financial services firm SeaMoney.
Li said in a press release: “Sea is proud to be a Singaporean company, and we are proud to play our part in elevating Singapore football to the next level.
“By uniting with a club with a rich heritage, exceptional fans, and a great organisation, we intend for Lion City Sailors to set a new benchmark for footballing excellence in Singapore and the region.”
Garena was previously a sponsor for SPL club Young Lions in 2016. The two-year deal, worth S$4m ($2.8m), was the largest club sponsorship in the history of the league. It comprised a S$2m cash sponsorship and a S$2m contribution to the team’s developmental programmes.
Speaking of the Home United takeover, Football Association of Singapore president Lim Kia Tong said: “This pilot project is a significant milestone for the league as it enters its 25th season and marks a historical chapter that could potentially shape the future of the professional football landscape in Singapore.
“Sea has a proven track record of building and managing successful businesses, and the FAS has complete confidence in their ability to steer the club to new heights.”
Home United has won the Singapore domestic league twice, with its last title win in 2003. The club finished sixth last season.
Lion City Sailors FC will begin their SPL campaign with a home clash at the Bishan Stadium against defending champions Brunei DPMM on February 29.