Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Sports Hub takeover: Govt pledges to hold more affordable community events, school games

SINGAPORE — Singaporeans will enjoy greater access to the Singapore Sports Hub for recreational exercise and community events soon, with the sports complex set to come under the Government’s direct ownership later this year.

The Government will assume ownership and management of the Sports Hub from Dec 9, terminating its public-private partnership agreement 13 years ahead of time.

The Government will assume ownership and management of the Sports Hub from Dec 9, terminating its public-private partnership agreement 13 years ahead of time.

  • The Government is planning to host more community events such as open houses for all ages at the Sports Hub and the National Stadium, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong said
  • Mass events such as those under the GetActive! Singapore movement will also be held in community spaces around the Sports Hub
  • More international marquee sports events can be held in the wider Kallang precinct alongside local programmes for the general public
  • Sport Singapore will incorporate a holding company to own and operate the various assets of the Sports Hub and within the Kallang Alive precinct

SINGAPORE — Singaporeans will enjoy greater access to the Singapore Sports Hub for recreational exercise and community events soon, with the sports complex set to come under the Government’s direct ownership later this year.

Plans are also afoot to host more schools' meets at the Sports Hub, including the National School Games, Singapore Youth Festival performances and even school sports days, Mr Edwin Tong said in Parliament on Monday (Aug 1).

The Minister for Culture, Community and Youth said in his ministerial statement: “We want to make it a community icon that Singaporeans can identify with, and feel (like they are) a part of it, in their social or sporting activities.”

This was the first time a Cabinet minister was speaking on the decision to take over the Sports Hub.

Mr Tong was responding to questions from several Members of Parliament (MPs) about the Government’s new vision for the venue after it announced in June that it would take over full ownership of the sprawling 35ha integrated sports, entertainment and lifestyle hub in Kallang to “unlock” its “full potential for Singapore”. The venue was owned by private consortium Sports Hub Private Ltd.

The MPs' questions were filed last month but Mr Tong was unable to reply them then because he had Covid-19 when Parliament sat at the time.

The Government will assume ownership and management of the Sports Hub from Dec 9, terminating its public-private partnership agreement 13 years ahead of time.

Members of the sports fraternity here, in earlier interviews with TODAY, lamented that the facilities at the Sports Hub were often under-used and hoped that more community events would be held in the future to shed its “white elephant” image.

Mr Tong said on Monday that the Government is planning regular open house events to the Sports Hub and the National Stadium, with activities for all ages.

For instance, children who have joined the new ActiveSG Football Academies may take part in the year-end football tournament at the National Stadium, as part of the Government’s Unleash The Roar! national project to raise the standards of Singapore football.

Mass events will also be held at community spaces in and around the Sports Hub, including the 100Plus Promenade, OCBC Square and along the waterfront. An example of such events include those under national organisation Sport Singapore’s (SportSG’s) GetActive! Singapore movement to celebrate National Day through sports.

Mr Tong said that the Government will aim to keep community events affordable and accessible.

“We will ensure that as many community spaces as possible are open and free for all to use.”

KALLANG ALIVE DEVELOPMENTS

Mr Tong added that the future plans for the Sports Hub will complement the upcoming development to rejuvenate the Kallang Alive precinct into a “vibrant sport, entertainment and lifestyle precinct” by 2030.

The Kallang Alive precinct is a 89ha site along Kallang River and Kallang Basin surrounding the Sports Hub. 

With the ownership and management of the Sports Hub falling under the Government, it will be able to better integrate the complex to hold international marquee sporting events, Mr Tong said. 

Mr Gerald Giam, Member of Parliament for Aljunied Group Representation Constituency, asked how SportSG was going to bring in more marquee events when the consortium, with all its international expertise, was not able to do so.

Mr Tong replied that the Government has built up its expertise over the years and now works with developed partners in the private sector.

Sports and live entertainment firms located in Singapore such as AEG, Unusual Limited and LiveNation Singapore also have a vested interest in bringing these events here, he added.

Part of the reason Sports Hub Private Ltd did not organise marquee events was because hosting international events meant that it will have to bear the risk of low turnouts since any losses will be borne by the consortium, Mr Tong added.

The consortium was thus not incentivised to hold such events.

With different ownership structures and commercial interests, it can be “incredibly challenging” to achieve such integration of services across the different facilities, Mr Tong said.

With the takeover, the Government may confidently bring in the annual ATP1000 international tennis tournament if it is able to combine facilities at the OCBC Arena that has multi-purpose halls for sporting activities, Singapore Indoor Stadium and the new Kallang Tennis Centre, and hold community programmes alongside the tournament, Mr Tong said.

“So we will have a whole ecosystem of sports — our professional athletes competing in the arena, our budding young athletes training on the sidelines and the general public enjoying a social game.” 

Among the planned developments in the Kallang Alive precinct are:

  • The Kallang Football Hub, which will be used as Singapore’s national training centre and will be ready as soon as the end of this year
  • The Kallang Tennis Centre, which will be ready by next year
  • The Youth Hub with urban community sports venues for speed climbing and parkour, targeted to be completed from 2028
  • Benaan Kapal Green, a green space along the waterfront of Geylang River and Jalan Benaan Kapal, with access through park connectors. It is targeted to be completed from 2032
  • The Kallang Theatre Integrated Development, which will include an indoor arena capable of hosting e-sports events, a themed hotel and office spaces. It is targeted to be completed from 2027
  • The Alive Gateway and Loop, which is an elevated walking or running route that would trace parts of the circular airfield of the former Kallang Airport. The development is pending studies and targeted to be completed from 2030

NEW HOLDING COMPANY

To own and operate the various assets within Kallang Alive, SportSG will incorporate a holding company, Mr Tong said.

A subsidiary of this holding company will be set up specifically to own and manage the Sports Hub.

“This structure will enable SportSG to focus on the Sports Hub, but at the same time, also have regard to its deployment in the wider Kallang Alive Precinct,” he said, adding that this allows the company to reap economies of scale.

A team of officers from SportSG have been earmarked to move into the Sports Hub holding company and manage the complex on a full-time basis.

These officers have experience with the Sports Hub and many had worked alongside the Sports Hub Pte Ltd consortium since the hub’s inception.

Mr Tong said that these officers have been organised to hold together the organisational structure of the consortium and had been “readying for a takeover if and when needed”.

He added that the Government will retain the existing contracting model to work with “market-leading, optimal partners” to provide services and facilities as needed for each event or occasion.

In the mid- to longer-term, the Government intends to tap the private sector to explore redeveloping parts of the Kallang Alive precinct.

Related topics

Singapore Sports Hub recreation Exercise Sports community edwin tong

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.