New Zealand's national football league has a new name, a new sponsor and a prominent new patron.

ISPS Handa (the International Sports Promotion Society) has become the sponsor of what will become the ISPS Handa Premiership for the next three seasons, while the iconic Chatham Cup will also fall under the same naming rights association.

Former Prime Minister John Key has become an ISPS Handa patron and international ambassador, having met the organisation's founder Dr Haruhisa Handa through their four-year sponsorship of the New Zealand women's golf open.

ISPS Handa is also the current sponsor of the New Zealand men's golf open in Queenstown and undertakes charity work in many forms around the world.


"In particular, the programmes to support blind and disabled golf impress me both as an avid golfer and a passionate believer in the "power of sport", to bring people together and transform lives for the better," said Mr Key.

Along with Mr Key and representatives from some of the national league franchises, New Zealand Football CEO Andy Martin was in Wellington to help usher in the new partnership.

"We have two key strategic aims; to have more New Zealanders playing and loving football and to have our elite teams winning at global pinnacle events," he said.

"With the values that Dr Handa brings to this partnership and now with the backing of former Prime Minister John Key, we expect to achieve great things in football in New Zealand."

John Key was also at the All Whites' captain's run ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Fiji at Westpac Stadium, addressing the team and chatting afterwards with some of the players. He predicted a 5-0 win for New Zealand to match the exploits of the Wellington Phoenix at the same venue on Sunday night.

ASB was the sponsor of the national league last season, with Stirling Sports taking over for the current 2016/17 campaign. The new ISPS Handa sponsorship will run until at least the end of the 2019/2020 season.

The competition format for next season and beyond is yet to be confirmed. There are currently ten teams in the national league, with Auckland City and Team Wellington to meet in the 2016/17 Grand Final on Sunday afternoon at Albany.