Sport Singapore (SportSG) announced on June 10 the termination of its project agreement with Sports Hub Pte Ltd (SHPL) and its upcoming takeover of the Singapore Sports Hub.
Since the completion of the S$1.33 billion facility in 2014, the Sports Hub has been managed under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with SHPL.
SHPL was engaged in 2010 and has a 25-year contract to design, build, finance and operate the Sports Hub.
Under the arrangement, the Government makes annual payments of S$193.7 million to SHPL, which started in 2014, to run the Sports Hub.
If SportSG continued with the PPP arrangement, the estimated cost would be S$2.32 billion (S$193.7 million x 12 remaining years, from 2023-2035).
The government's takeover will occur officially on Dec. 9, 2022.
With this, SportSG said that it will have greater control and flexibility over the Sports Hub, and intends to make it more accessible to the public while maintaining its commercial sustainability.
Bringing Sports Hub closer to the community
Following this news, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong elaborated more on this move in a Facebook post, which he attributed to a "confluence of several reasons".
Tong shared that after the handover in December this year, SportSG will continue to work with the best private sector partners for the Sports Hub, and to take Singapore's sporting and lifestyle ambitions "to a new level".
He explained that the Sports Hub is an "iconic national sporting asset", and the "Home of Singapore Sport".
It should therefore be more vibrant, accessible to the wider community, be utilised for a larger range of activities, and become a part of people's "day to day lived sporting experience".
To achieve these, he intends for the Sports Hub to bring in school events and community sport programs, and to simply be open to the everyday Singaporean, be it a "casual jogger or stroller to exercise at the stadium tracks in the evenings."
Tong expressed his wish for Singaporeans to develop an affinity with the National Stadium at Sports Hub and feel proud of the facility.
He recounted how during his schooling days, competing at the old National Stadium was a highlight for athletes and student spectators, and hopes that budding young athletes can aspire to play at the National Stadium these days too.
He added in his Facebook post:
"If we build a strong affinity for the Sports Hub, our TeamSG athletes will also know that each time they compete in that arena, our fans will be there to rock the house down with their support."
Tong had previously shared similar thoughts of his expectations for the Sports Hub in a 2020 The Straits Times interview, when he first became the MCCY Minister:
"It's a role that Sports Hub can play as part of several things to promote Singapore school sports… to give budding school kids an opportunity to say, I want to aspire towards that, to play in our National Stadium."
A hub for sports and entertainment
The government's takeover of the Sports Hub will also allow better integration of the hub with the upcoming Kallang Alive facilities, such as the Kallang Football Hub, Kallang Tennis Centre, the Youth Hub and a Velodrome.
These will transform Kallang into a larger sporting and entertainment hub, and enable greater opportunities to stage world class events at the Sports Hub.
Tong affirmed that the government will work with SHPL to ensure a smooth and seamless handover.
He also expressed his excitement at the brimming potential of the Sports Hub, to "build on what we have, already a world class stadium, and turn Kallang into a larger, more diverse, vibrant sporting and lifestyle hub".
More importantly though, Tong wishes for the Sports Hub to become a "sporting home for all to enjoy".
"...we must also develop a sense of pride and affinity with the National Stadium, make it OUR HOME ground, and a place where opposing teams fear to tread!"
Sports Hub "can play bigger role": Tong in 2020
Tong previously acknowledged that the Sports Hub "can play a bigger role and can be a lot more a part of an iconic sports experience" for Singaporeans, ST reported.
He also had aspirations for the National Stadium to become the den of the Singapore Lions.
"Our national team should be playing at the National Stadium," he said.
According to ST, the Lion's had played there less than 10 times in 2018 and 2019.
You can read Tong's full post here.Top photo from Edwin Tong / FB