The Philippine Football Federation had not been able to organize a national tournament since 2007, when they staged the PFF Centennial Men's Open Championship.
In January 2011, with the recent success of the national football team and renewed national interest in football, Smart Communications approached the PFF with an offer to finance a new local football competition. The proposed partnership was set to last 10 years, with Smart releasing ₱80 million in funds with the aim of providing more playing opportunities for skilled football players, and the eventual creation of a national league. Newly installed Philippine Football Federation president Mariano V. Araneta subsequently approved the proposal. In March 2011, the new tournament commenced under the name PFF–Smart Men's Club Championship.
^"PFF, Smart to form Philippine football league". GMA News and Public Affairs. January 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-02. "A league for Philippine football? This will become a reality as the Philippine Football Federation has forged a partnership with telecom giant Smart Communications to finance a local football club championship. The partnership will last for a span of 10 years, with the giant telco releasing a total of P80 million for the project aimed at providing opportunities for skilled football players."
^Rick Olivares (March 1, 2011). "National open football tilt back after five-year hiatus". BusinessMirror. Retrieved 2011-10-31. "“This revives a national tournament that we have not had in a while,” Philippine Football Federation (PFF) competitions department head Cyril Dofitas told the BusinessMirror. Bacolod City hosted the last national tournament five years ago."