Forum: Ticketing fiasco reflects badly on Sports Hub

Teams line up as Brazil take on Senegal in their international friendly football match at the National Stadium in Singapore, on Oct 10, 2019.
Teams line up as Brazil take on Senegal in their international friendly football match at the National Stadium in Singapore, on Oct 10, 2019.PHOTO: ST FILE

Sport Singapore chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin said: "Vision 2030 was launched with the belief that sport will have an increasingly significant role to play in nation building and Singapore's future." (Kallang set to come alive with velodrome, youth hub in the works, ST Online, Aug 6)

This future looks dismal, judging by the poor turnout at the recent Brazil Global Tour games, and the accompanying ticketing fiasco at the Singapore Sports Hub.

Organisers must have expected large crowds. When tickets were first released, seats in the second tier of the stadium were available for purchase. Our group of 17 bought second-tier tickets to the Brazil-Senegal game.

After purchasing the tickets, we saw online advertisements offering discounts of up to 50 per cent and even a flash sale, where four tickets were priced at $99.

When we later checked the Sports Hub's sales portal, the second-tier section was no longer reflected as part of the seating plan. Was this section quietly removed? No notification was sent to inform buyers of the section closure or change in seating plan. We assumed that tickets in this section were sold out.

On game night, we were one of the many fans who found out at the entrance gate of the stadium that the second tier was closed. Affected fans were offered new tickets to the lower tier.

Due to our large group size, ticketing staff were unable to find seats for us and by the time it was resolved, the game had already kicked off. We were disappointed, to say the least.

To add insult to injury, we were told that the delay in finding us replacement seats was due to it being a "full house" event. The rows of empty seats contradicted the excuse given.

As was later reported by The Straits Times, "there were swathes of empty seats and sections in the 55,000-seater National Stadium, with the two upper decks left unoccupied" (The stars come to play, but fans stay away, Oct 11).

The Sports Hub has a long way to go if it intends to brand itself as "a destination for sports and world-class entertainment".

Sport Singapore will need to work with stakeholders and partners for a more holistic approach, especially in the wake of plans to develop the Kallang precinct by 2025.

Joanne Pereira

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2019, with the headline 'Ticketing fiasco reflects badly on Sports Hub'. Print Edition | Subscribe