Football has grown considerably since the Philippine Azkals’ magical run in the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup. The renewed sense of relevance for football in the Philippines has inevitably attracted huge corporations to invest in the sport. Electricity distribution firm Meralco engages in football by funding the Loyola Meralco Sparks Football Club.
While the Sparks are a big team by local standards, they are continuously looking for potential partners to support the team and their advocacies. Last July 13, 2016 (Wednesday), the Sparks signed a sponsorship agreement with fast food giant Jollibee in the Lopez Building at the Meralco Compound, a partnership deemed a “match made in heaven” by Board of Trustees member Victor Genuino.
Genuino explained, “There’s a lot of grassroots development. We now have a professional league. We now want to be AFC certified to be able to compete with the bigger footballing nations in Asia. I think it’s a good opportunity for both Meralco and Jollibee to come in at this point in time to really beef up the love for the sport.” In addition to that, he felt that the new deal also pressures the Sparks to win more championships.
On Jollibee’s side, Chief Marketing Officer Francis Flores agreed with Genuino’s comment and stated their satisfaction with the partnership’s commencement. Flores said that Jollibee was about Filipino pride and being proud of one’s roots, and this compliments what the Sparks provide, which is joy through football.
Flores added, “I know we’re having this contract signing today, but for the past few weeks or past few months, we’ve been actually doing a lot of collaborations together and we truly appreciate all the support that you have given to some of our activities for Jollibee.” He then assured everyone that this partnership is a long-term relationship between the Sparks and Jollibee.
One person who’s seen the evolution of the Sparks is the club’s Vice President Randy Roxas. Roxas felt that it has been an experience seeing different companies get involved with football, and that it is a testament to the growth of the sport. He confided that there are people behind the scenes either in the PFF or UFL who are trying to further the growth of the sport.
“Clearly there are stumbling blocks. It’s not easy but rest assured that there are people working along those lines to make sure that the sports grows even further because we believe that it has a lot of potential in the country,” Roxas guaranteed.
After the ceremonial signing of the contracts, the Sparks announced new signing Tyler Matas. Matas is a Filipino-American defender from Hawaii brought in to shore up the Sparks’ defensive ranks. He was introduced by Sparks coach Simon McMenemy, who said the player will start competing in the UFL come the second round. Matas said, “This is a great experience for me. This is my first professional team so it’s very different. Hopefully I can help get that title.”