Tennis: National Stadium mooted as possible ATP Finals venue

Singapore is one of five cities vying to host the US$8.5 million (S$11.55 million) ATP Finals beyond 2020.
Singapore is one of five cities vying to host the US$8.5 million (S$11.55 million) ATP Finals beyond 2020.PHOTO: ST FILE

The National Stadium will likely host the ATP Finals if Singapore is awarded the bid to host the season-ending men's tennis showpiece event from 2021 to 2025.

Representatives from the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), which governs professional men's tennis, were given a tour of the 55,000-capacity stadium and the OCBC Arena by officials here when they visited earlier this week.

Another group of ATP officials will be in town from tomorrow (Jan 20).

Singapore is one of five cities vying to host the US$8.5 million (S$11.55 million) ATP Finals beyond 2020, together with Manchester, Tokyo, Turin and current host London, where the season finale has been held since 2009.

Sport Singapore chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin told The Sunday Times: "We did bring them to look at the different venues, the different back-of-house facilities, how we envisage we would connect the overall fan experience, how we would be able to look after the players and how the players would be able to move quite seamlessly across the different venues."

Adding that the representatives had given feedback, he said: "I think they want for Singapore to make it a uniquely Singaporean experience - they know what we've done with the Formula 1.

"They were quite clear it wasn't about trying to replicate what you see elsewhere."

 

Mr Lim noted that there were lessons learned from hosting marquee events here, such as the Formula 1 and WTA Finals, which took place at the 12,000-capacity Singapore Indoor Stadium from 2014 till last year.

"We should be continuing to develop the capacity for a travelling audience, and to attract a travelling audience," he added.

"The success of the Sports Hub as a venue for a marquee event would be better served if there are people from overseas who are also coming to enjoy the event. We have a large stadium at the Sports Hub and a travelling audience would add to the viability of the event."

Tennis fan Jerome Low believes the National Stadium would attract a bigger audience because it is a larger venue, though he expressed some concern about fan visibility.

Describing the stadium as a grand venue, the 27-year-old, who is unemployed, added: "The National Stadium is big so you may not see much (action) and it might not be as intimate as the Indoor Stadium.

"If (the event) sells out or hits high numbers in ticket sales, it's good because more revenue is generated and more people will be exposed to the sport because there's a larger capacity."