Singapore Sports Hub: The highs and lows over the years

The Singapore Sports Hub that was built at a cost of $1.33 billion.
The Singapore Sports Hub that was built at a cost of $1.33 billion. PHOTO: BT FILE

The Singapore Sports Hub has been in the news this week following the shock resignation of its chief executive officer Oon Jin Teik. The former national swimmer's departure was announced on Monday (Jan 28) though he will stay at the helm till April.

Here are the highs and lows of the five-year old facility:

June 2014: SportsHub Pte Ltd (SHPL) opens the doors to the Singapore Sports Hub. The first event held at the $1.33 billion venue is the South-east Asian Swimming Championships at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

August 2014: The National Stadium hosts its first football match as Italian giants Juventus beat a Singapore selection 5-0. Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri does not play star striker Carlos Tevez because he fears the pitch's poor quality will result in an injury to the Argentinian.

October 2014: Brazil thump Japan 4-0 in an exhibition match, with superstar Neymar scoring all four goals. But defender Felipe Luis calls the pitch "horrible", and Sport Singapore laments that the sandy pitch was a "significant disappointment".

October 2014: Singapore risks being stripped of co-hosting rights for the AFF Suzuki Cup because a Jay Chou concert and an exhibition rugby match slated at the Sports Hub just before the tournament contravene Asean Football Federation requirements. The concert was moved and rugby match eventually scrapped, but Singapore crash out at the group stage of the Cup on home soil.

December 2014: Sports Hub announces it will replace the problematic pitch with a "lay and play" solution, and bear the full cost.

May 2015: The National Stadium's new "lay and play" Eclipse Stabilised Turf is laid, and wins praise for its smooth surface.

June 2015: The Sports Hub is the main event venue for the SEA Games, which returns to Singapore for the first time in 22 years.

October 2015: Frenchman Philippe Collin-Delavaud steps down as chief executive officer and is replaced by Manu Sawhney.

December 2015: The staging of the 2016 National Day Parade (NDP) is in jeopardy after SHPL sets a $26 million price tag on 35 extra rehearsal days. The figure was reportedly lowered to $10 million later, but the total cost of staging the parade at Kallang was estimated to be $39.4 million, about double that of the cost of having it at the Marina Bay floating platform. It remains the only time the NDP is staged at the Sports Hub.

January 2016: SHPL inks its first cost-sharing partnership with the Singapore Rugby Union, where both parties will jointly promote the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

September 2016: More than 1,500 fans of Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou sign a petition asking for a refund after sound issues plague his Sept 3 concert.

December 2016: ST reports that several suite owners are unlikely to renew their contracts with the Sports Hub after a threadbare 2016 events calendar.

March 2017: Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng, speaking in Parliament, urges SHPL to enhance the vibrancy of the Sports Hub and improve the quality of its calendar of events and programming.

April 2017: British band Coldplay put on two blockbuster shows at the National Stadium, putting to bed sound issues of the past.

May 2017: Mr Sawhney resigns from his post despite being cleared of any wrongdoing following an anonymous letter of complaint about his alleged treatment of staff.

June 2017: Argentina, sans Lionel Messi, beat Singapore 6-0 in an exhibition match to mark the 125th-year anniversary of the Football Association of Singapore.

January 2018: The WTA announces Singapore will be replaced by China as the host of the season-ending WTA Finals starting from 2019. It had been staged at the Singapore Indoor Stadium since 2014.

June 2018: The Sports Hub and Singapore Tourism Board announce a strategic partnership with the UFC for the first multi-year live event deal in Asia-Pacific which will see UFC stage annual Fight Night events at the Singapore Indoor Stadium till 2020.

November 2018: Singapore bids to host the prestigious US$8.5 million (S$11.7 million) Nitto ATP Finals from 2021-2025. A decision is expected by March.

January 2019: Mr Oon quits. Bryn Jones, the Hub's chairman, will take over as acting CEO until its "global search" for a replacement bears fruit.