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Sanjay Nair
Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

Sports

Hub attendance figures crucial

The Straits Times | Sanjay Nair | Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

What's next in strategy terms for the state-of-the-art Singapore Sports Hub, which is up and running with events that encompass sports, lifestyle and entertainment?

This all-important question was tackled by a group of more than 100 expert practitioners during the Sports Business In Asia seminar yesterday.

Some highlighted the need for regular "mega events" such as top international football matches or elite athletics meets to showcase the $1.33 billion Kallang facility to the world.

Others mentioned the importance of engaging more medium-sized companies if a thriving sports sponsorship ecosystem is to be strengthened here.

But - for all the talk of return on investments and building Singapore's reputation as a global sports destination - there was consensus on perhaps the most important part of the equation - filling the stands.

The Rugby World Club 10s in June and the football friendly between Juventus and a Singapore Selection side last month drew crowds of around 10,000 and 27,000 respectively at the 55,000-capacity National Stadium.

To combat gripes over high ticket prices, tickets for next month's Brazil-Japan glamour football tie have been priced between a reasonable $40 and $180.

"We've learnt some lessons, in terms of marketing and how the Singapore community reacts," said Andrew Georgiou, chief executive of World Sport Group, which is tasked with filling the Sports Hub calendar.

"Five years ago, people here were paying $15 for sports tickets - we need to shift the mindset in terms of what they need to do if they want to experience truly world-class events."

Victor Cui, owner of mixed martial arts promotion One Fighting Championship, added: "The onus is on rightholders to deliver an engaging and entertaining experience. You can't just stage an event and tell people, 'hey, look who I brought, now come and watch us'."

The Formula One race at Marina Bay remains the country's biggest sporting draw, generating about $150 million in incremental tourism receipts per race.

Ms Kow Ree Na, director of the lifestyle programme office and consumer businesses at the Singapore Economic Development Board, said: "Singapore's sports business scene has three factors that make it attractive - a good environment to do business in, the availability of world-class partners and a vibrant sporting culture."

nsanjay@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Sept 16, 2014.
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