Sports Hub marks new chapter after takeover with a series of activities

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong at the Sports Hub's OCBC Arena for a Christmas light-up event on Friday. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE – A new chapter kicked off for the Singapore Sports Hub on Friday as the Government officially took over the Republic’s biggest sports venue.

A host of events and community activities to commemorate the handover were held at the 35-hectare site, which was previously run under a public-private partnership by the consortium Sports Hub Pte Ltd (SHPL).

The management of the $1.3 billion hub, which has seen its share of ups and downs since it opened to much fanfare in 2014, will be handled by a new entity, Kallang Alive Sport Management (KASM). The KASM is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kallang Alive Holding Co., which is incorporated by Sport Singapore (SportSG) to oversee the entire Kallang Alive precinct.

New KASM chief executive Quek Swee Kuan, who started his role last Thursday, said that the new entity aims to stage a balance of community and commercial events.

He said: “We believe that, through proper planning, we have time and space to accommodate both types of events. Both are equally important because they will help us achieve our vision of the Sports Hub being a premier destination for entertainment, sporting events and lifestyle.”

In June, SportSG and SHPL agreed to terminate the agreement that had seen the latter running the venue.

The partnership had been fraught with tension, with SHPL grappling with initial issues with its pitch and criticism of what was deemed a thin programming calendar despite it hosting several marquee events.

With KASM now fully in charge of the billion-dollar venue, former Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) chief executive Quek cited the Christmas light-up at the OCBC Arena on Friday, which was officiated by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong, as an example of the community and social events that will be held at the Sports Hub.

A jump rope fiesta and community taiji workout were some of the activities that also took place on Friday.

Football fans can also visit the official Fifa World Cup match ball exhibition that features all 14 Adidas balls used in the quadrennial tournament from 1970 till 2022, and live screenings of matches will also be shown at the venue.

The National School Games are set for a return to the National Stadium and student-athletes from sports such as athletics, football and rugby can look forward to competing there.

In his speech, Mr Tong said: “This is a facility that is special. It is built for Singapore, for Singaporeans... It is very important to us that as we move forward on our programme and our events, whether it is big events, small events, lifestyle, community family events or high-interest marquee events... we always make sure this is a place you can call home.”

Sponsorship is also a key area for the new entity. Last Friday, The Straits Times reported that telco StarHub will end its sponsorship with the Sports Hub when its contract expires later in December.

When asked whether there was concern over more sponsors dropping out, Quek said: “Sponsorship is important and we are grateful for all the support our sponsors have given us over the years.

“Going forward, we will continue to work very closely with them so that we will have a mutually beneficial outcome.”

Tony Heng, chairman of Stellar Alpha, which is the managing agent for Kallang Wave Mall, hopes to see more events at the venue, especially on week days.

He said: “We’re excited by the plans by SportSG and the KASM to rejuvenate the Sports Hub.

“Together with the new team, we look forward to creating a vibrant and attractive destination.”

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