By: Justin Harper
After three years of construction, Singapore Sports Hub will finally open in June.
Sports fans and music lovers alike have plenty to get excited about with an action-packed calendar planned for the $1.3 billion complex’s inaugural year. But the integrated venue will not just be hosting professional teams and sports stars. It will be available to the community for a range of sports, leisure activities and of course food and beverage (F&B).
Located on a sprawling 35-hectare area in Kallang, the 55,000-seater stadium already looks an impressive sight on the city state’s skyline. And that’s before you look into the stats. Singapore Sports Hub will have the largest free-spanning domed roof in the world. Its retractable seating allows for flexible movement inside the stadium, making it the only one in the world able to host football, athletics, rugby and cricket, as well as concerts, all in one venue.
Given the tropical climate, energy-efficient cooling technology has been installed, where cool air will be pumped from behind each seat, making it one of only a few carbon-neutral stadiums ever built. Other facilities inside the Hub include a 6,000-capacity OCBC Aquatic Centre that meets world tournament standards, a 3,000-capacity OCBC Arena and a Water Sports Centre featuring dragon boating, kayaking and canoeing at the Kallang basin. The Sports Hub will also incorporate the existing Singapore Indoor Stadium which has built a solid reputation as a premier sporting and music venue.
To widen its appeal, there is a 41,000-square-metre retail and waterfront area, Singapore Sports Museum and Sports Hub Library. The soft launch is set for June while the official opening hasn’t yet been decided, but a possible opening event could be the SEA Games next year.
One fixture already generating plenty of excitement is the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Championships which will be held at the Sports Hub in October. The prestigious 10-day event, which sees the world best female tennis players compete, will be hosted here for a five-year period, the longest run for any host city. While the line-up of players is not yet known, it could include Serena Williams and Li Na.
Most big building projects in Singapore (think Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Sentosa Island) are meticulously planned and executed so that they draw millions of tourists. The Sports Hub could be the jewel in the crown. One potential issue for such a large venue is access, but the Hub will be served by Stadium MRT station and neighbouring stations such as Kallang and Mountbatten, and the surrounding road and pedestrian infrastructure is excellent.
When it comes to community involvement, the Sports Hub will feature hard courts available for basketball, lawn bowls, a skate park, climbing wall, and running and cycling circuits around the outside of the stadium along the Sports Promenade. Competition swimming pools will also be available to the public. A spokesman for the Hubsaid: “We are targeting all demographics – from elite athletes to the general public. Ultimately, this should be a space where Singaporeans can play sports, attend a concert, have dinner with their families by the waterfront, or visit the sports museum and library with their children over the weekend.’’
And for the city state’s high-rollers there are 62 executive suites and 1,655 premium seats within the main stadium. Many of the suites have been taken by foreign companies and multinationals to entertain clients and guests.
While the world’s best sports clubs and players are expected to grace the Sports Hub, this is not a priority; instead the focus will also be on Asian sports stars and teams.
Events coming up
Among the events for the first year will be the performances by Taylor Swift, Jay Chou, Stefanie Sun and the Singapore Chinese Orchestra.
The inaugural World Club Rugby 10s will be the first sporting event in the new stadium (June 21-22), a new concept that combines the speed of the 7s with the intensity of the full game. A mega rugby event could also be on the cards for next year, timed to commemorate Singapore’s 50th year of independence. For football, Singapore will play against Malaysia on 8 August and will also host the group stages of the AFF Suzuki Cup at the end of the year. The Hub will also be home to 11 National Sports Associations ranging from swimming to gymnastics.
All the stats
The 35-hectare development site in Singapore’s Kallang district is truly unique as it will be a world-class sporting facility but open to all. Daily community facilities will include Splash-N-Surf (Lazy River, Stingray e.g aquatic half-pipe and Kids’ Water Park), exercise and fitness stations, skate park, lawn bowls, activity plazas, rock climbing wall, beach volleyball, hard courts for basketball, giant chess, water sports (dragon boating, canoeing, kayaking) and Sports Promenade for running and cycling.
The main features include:
// a new 55,000-capacity National Stadium with a retractable roof
// a 6,000-capacity OCBC Aquatic Centre
// a 3,000-capacity OCBC Arena
// 41,000 square metres of retail, restaurant and entertainment space
// Water Sports Centre
// the existing 12,000-capacity Singapore Indoor Stadium
// the world’s largest domed roof