Badminton: Singapore Open a Level 4 event for now, but an upgrade in future not ruled out

Carolina Marin of Spain in action against Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea during their semi-final women's singles match during the OUE Singapore Open Badminton Tournament at the Indoor Stadium in Singapore, on April 15, 2017.
Carolina Marin of Spain in action against Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea during their semi-final women's singles match during the OUE Singapore Open Badminton Tournament at the Indoor Stadium in Singapore, on April 15, 2017.PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Open, the marquee badminton tournament here will be classified as a Level 4 event for its next four editions, but the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) said it is not ruling out an upgrade should it manage to secure sponsors early.

It will mean the need to start working on groundwork one to two years before the tender for the next cycle of events is even up for bidding, said SBA president Tan Kian Chew.

Last month, the Singapore leg was named one of the stops on the Badminton World Federation's professional circuit for the next cycle starting next year until 2021. It will be a Level 4 event with total prize money remaining at the US$350,000 (S$489,250) it currently offers. There are six levels on the scale, with four tournaments, comprising Level 1 and 2, offering million-dollar prize purses.

It is currently a Superseries event, which together with the Superseries Premier events form the second-highest tier of competitions on the BWF calendar, just behind the Olympics and the World Championships.

On being a "Tier 4" event, Tan said: "It's a tough job. You want to get a title sponsor because the expenditure is pretty big and the commitment level is high. Not that it's not affordable, but it's quite big."

He said that the Singapore Sports Hub will come on as a venue partner for the next cycle, a partnership that means the event can go without a title sponsor if that so happens - although the SBA continues to be on the look out for one.

He added: "The risk of not getting a title sponsor is less and the financial strain is not so enormous.

"We won't rule out (bidding to be a Level 3 event) in the future, we may eventually go for that if we can get early commitment from title sponsors, but the groundwork needs to be done one to two years before the tender is out."

Real estate developer OUE has been the title sponsor of the Singapore Open since 2014 and is into its last year of partnership. The SBA is currently in talks with OUE about a possible extension.