Singapore Sports Hub
The Singapore Sports Hub at Kallang is a 35-hectare (350,000 sq m) integrated sports, entertainment and lifestyle hub where sporting or entertainment events are held.1 Construction of the Sports Hub began in September 2010 and cost S$1.33 billion. Operations commenced in June 2014 before it was officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 25 July 2015.2 The Sports Hub has a myriad of facilities, including an aquatic centre, water sports centre, retail mall, skate park, sports library, museum and restaurants.3 Its centrepiece is the 55,000-capacity National Stadium. Featuring a retractable dome roof measuring 312 m in diameter and 80 m in height, the National Stadium is also the largest free-standing dome structure in the world.4
Prior to the opening of Singapore Sports Hub, most of the nation’s major sporting and entertainment events such as key football matches and national day parades were held at the former national stadium. Situated at the same location where the Sports Hub at Kallang stands today, the old national stadium was opened on 21 July 1973 by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.5
On 2 February 2001, The Straits Times published an article by sports correspondent Jeffery Low which called for the ageing national stadium to be replaced. This set in motion a discussion on the issue.6 In July the same year, the Committee on Sporting Singapore (CoSS) included a recommendation to redevelop the former national stadium into a multiuse sports hub in its report. The CoSS report laid out the blueprint for the development of sports in Singapore for the next five years.7 In June 2002, as a follow-up to the committee’s recommendations, the then Ministry of Community Development and Sports (now Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth) appointed a consortium headed by PricewaterhouseCoopers Project Advisory to conduct a six-month feasibility study on the redevelopment of the stadium.8
On 15 February 2003, then Acting Minister for Community Development and Sports Yaacob Ibrahim announced that plans for the construction of a new national stadium had been approved and that it would be located on the same premises as the former stadium at Kallang, as recommended in the feasibility study.9 The decision to retain the original location of the stadium was due to a number of factors, including its centrality, accessibility and sentimental significance. The minister noted that the stadium would take the form of a sports hub that not only housed a stadium but also various facilities such as restaurants, retail shops and offices. This was to ensure that the sports hub would be a multipurpose complex bustling with activities throughout the year.10
Tendering for developers
The construction and management of the sports hub was placed under a private-public partnership (PPP) scheme for a 25-year lease period.11 This meant that the selected developer was required to design, build, finance and operate the Sports Hub during the lease period. The government, through the Singapore Sports Council (now Sport Singapore), would then reimburse the company with an annual sum until the end of the lease.12 In December 2005, at the preliminary stage of the tender process, the project was estimated to cost between S$650 million and S$800 million, making the sports hub the biggest PPP project in Singapore.13 However, the budget increased to S$1.87 billion when the tender was awarded on 19 January 2008. One of the reasons cited for the larger cost was the addition of a water sports centre. The Sports Hub is the biggest PPP sports facility project in the world.14
Shortlisted prospective developers had to submit a proposal that included design briefs for a 55,000-capacity stadium with a retractable roof, a 6,000-capacity indoor aquatic centre, a 3,000-seater multisport complex, and supporting leisure and commercial developments. The design proposal for a water sports centre was later added as a mandatory component.15 In March 2006, it was announced that three consortia had been shortlisted for the project: Alpine Consortium, Singapore Gold Consortium and Singapore Sports Hub Consortium.16
Alpine Consortium designed a stadium with a retractable roof featuring a translucent outer shell that would allow different lighting displays at night. The stadium would be asymmetrical with a raised section for VIP stands, a museum and library. Also included in its proposal was a manmade beach along the Kallang waterfront.17
Singapore Gold Consortium’s proposed sports hub featured a retractable-roof stadium in an open-ended horseshoe design, with a pitch that could be floated out in the Kallang Basin.18 Spectators would have an unobstructed view of the Kallang Basin against the backdrop of the Singapore skyline. Temporary seats could also be erected to increase the capacity of the stadium from 55,000 to 80,000.19
Included in Singapore Sports Hub Consortium’s proposal was a dome-shaped stadium with a retractable roof that could show different nighttime lighting configurations. Images could also be projected on it when the roof was closed.20 The stadium could be configured to increase its maximum capacity to 70,000. Its design maximised the use of natural ventilation to regulate the stadium’s temperature. Danish firm Arup Sport, which developed the Olympics Stadium in Beijing, China, was the architect for the project.21
Award of contract
After evaluating the proposals of the three consortiums, then Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan announced on 19 January 2008 that the development contract of the Sports Hub was awarded to Singapore Sports Hub Consortium.22 The cost-effectiveness and practicality of the consortium’s stadium design, as well as the display of a strong team culture, were cited as some of the key reasons for the consortium’s selection.23 Another important factor was the consortium’s vision to turn the Sports Hub into a “premier park”: It would be an integrated sports, entertainment and lifestyle hub for the masses rather than just a site for large-scale sporting events.24 The consortium had also proposed to commit 75 percent of the Sports Hub’s commercial revenues to a dedicated fund – the Premier Park Foundation – for the development of sporting activities and additional facilities.25
Although the Singapore Sports Hub Consortium was chosen to build the new Sports Hub in January 2008, the groundbreaking ceremony for its construction was not held until more than two years later on 29 September 2010.26 The delay was attributed to the sharp rise in construction costs worldwide in early 2008, which was followed by the onset of the global financial crisis from October 2008. The financial crisis destabilised the global financial markets and reduced availability of credit, which in turn affected the consortium’s ability to raise the necessary funds from the private sector to finance the project. The project resumed after market conditions stabilised in early 2010.27
Before the foundation of the Sports Hub could be laid, the old national stadium had to be torn down. This was completed in February 2011 after which piling and foundation work began.28 This stage was completed in September 2011, allowing above-ground construction work to proceed.29 In October 2012, work on the dome roof of the stadium commenced.30 The primary steel runway trusses that support the retractable roof was completed in July 2013, using 17,000 steel elements. The highest truss stands at 77.5 m above the pitch of the stadium.31 In May 2014, it was announced that more than 80 percent of the Sports Hub had been completed, signalling that it would be ready for use by June 2014.32
In total, the Sports Hub took about 45 months to complete. It was estimated that the work on the hub required 22 to 26 cranes.33 It used approximately 250,000 cu m of concrete, 13,500 tonnes of steel structures, 6,000 piles, 30,000 tonnes of rebars, and produced 90,000 tonnes of demolition waste. The project involved around 120 architects and designers, and some 4,200 workers.34
Besides being the biggest PPP project in Singapore, the Sports Hub was the first sport facility in Singapore that was opened up to commercial branding. On 11 November 2013, in a sponsorship deal in excess of S$50 million, local bank Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) gained 15-year naming rights to the multipurpose indoor arena, the aquatic centre, club lounges at the north and south wings of the National Stadium, and the VIP lounge in the Singapore Indoor Stadium.35 The new National Stadium and the Singapore Indoor Stadium, however, were excluded from the deal. The government wanted to preserve the original names of the two buildings because they are part of the nation’s identity, character and shared memories.36
The Singapore Sports Hub began operations from mid-June 2014 when it hosted a series of sporting events. They were the TYR 2nd Southeast Asian Swimming Championships at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, the 6th World University Floorball Championship at the indoor OCBC Arena and the inaugural World Club 10s rugby tournament at the new National Stadium.37 A two-day open house for the public was also held from 27 to 28 June 2014.38 Attended by some 50,000 people, the event included a fireworks and laser extravaganza, the one-year countdown to the 28th South East Asian Games in 2015 to be held at the Sports Hub, and a preview tour of the various facilities.39
However, the Sports Hub faced a number of teething issues such as the poor state of the stadium’s pitch and a leaking roof.40 After resolving these problems, the Singapore Sports Hub was officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 25 July 2015 with a ceremony attended by some 53,000 people.41
Description and facilities
The 35-hectare (350,000 sq m) Singapore Sports Hub is made up of a number of sports and recreational facilities.
The centrepiece of the Sports Hub is the 55,000-capacity National Stadium with a dome-shaped retractable roof. The stadium stands at 82.5 m when the 310-metre-wide dome is fully closed.42 The bowl-shaped stadium is fitted with a cooling system that pumps out cool air from beneath the seats. In addition, its seating can be configured to suit a variety of events from sports such as rugby, cricket, football and athletics, to concerts, family entertainment shows, as well as national and community events. It is the only stadium in the world capable of hosting such a wide range of events.43
OCBC Aquatic Centre
The 6,000-seat OCBC Aquatic Centre has a 50-metre competition pool with 10 lanes, a 50-metre training pool with eight lanes, and a 25-metre-wide diving or multipurpose pool. These facilities are open to the public by paid admission when there is no event ongoing.44
The 3,000-seat OCBC Arena is made up of two modular facilities containing six multipurpose halls that can be configured to hold various sporting events such as badminton, basketball, netball, volleyball, martial arts and fencing.45 The facilities, like the aquatic centre, are open to the public for a fee. It is also home to the following six national sports associations: Singapore Badminton Association, Basketball Association of Singapore, Fencing Singapore, Netball Singapore, Singapore Taekwondo Federation and Volleyball Association of Singapore.46
Water Sports Centre
The Water Sports Centre is designed to hold kayaking, rowing, and dragon boat racing events in the Kallang Basin on either a 500-metre or one-kilometre course. The public can also rent a kayak or canoe at the centre for recreational use in the Kallang Basin. There is also a viewing deck overlooking the basin, which can accommodate up to 80 people.47
Kallang Wave Mall
The Kallang Wave Mall is a 41,000-square-metre retail space that has an indoor rock-climbing wall as well as a water park on its rooftop.48
In addition to sport and lifestyle facilities, community spaces can also be found within the Sports Hub. These include a beach volleyball court, skate park, lawn bowling turf, playground for toddlers, basketball courts and a 900-metre running track known as the 100PLUS Promenade. There are also educational and learning spaces such as the Singapore Sports Museum and the Sports Hub Library.49 Existing facilities such as the Singapore Indoor Stadium are also located within the Sports Hub.50
The Singapore Sports Hub is managed and operated by the consortium’s four equity partners: InfraRed Capital Partners, Dragages Singapore, DTZ Facilities and Engineering and Global Spectrum Asia.51
2 Feb 2001: The Straits Times publishes an article calling for the former National Stadium to be replaced.52
15 Feb 2003: Government approves plans for a new stadium in the form of a sports hub.53
15 Dec 2005: Launch of pre-qualification stage of tender process for development of the new Sports Hub.54
26 Apr 2006: Shortlisted developers submit their design proposals.55
19 Jan 2008: Tender for the project awarded to Singapore Sports Hub Consortium.56
8 Aug 2010: Singapore Sports Hub Consortium signs contract with Singapore Sports Council to design, build, finance and manage the Singapore Sports Hub.57
29 Sep 2010: Groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Sports Hub is held and demolition of former National Stadium starts.58
Feb 2011: Demolition of former National Stadium completed.
Mar 2011: Foundation work and piling for Sports Hub begins.59
Sep 2011: Piling and foundation work completed, allowing above-ground construction work to begin.60
Oct 2012: Construction of the stadium’s retractable dome-shaped roof begins.61
Jun 2013: Installation of the primary steel runway trusses to support the roof completed.62
May 2014: More than 80 percent of the Sports Hub completed.63
14 Jun 2014: Sports Hub holds its first sporting event.64
27 Jun 2014: Sports Hub holds two-day open-house event for the community.65
25 Jul 2015: Singapore Sports Hub is officially opened.66
Lim Tin Seng
1. Sports Council, Singapore, Serving the Community Through Sports: Singapore Sports Council Annual Report 2011/2012 (Singapore: Sports Council, 2011)
2. Sports Council, Singapore, “Singapore Sports Hub – Marking a New Chapter of a Sporting Singapore,” press release, 29 September 2010; Samantha Boh, “PM Marks Youth Day, Opens Sports Hub in front of 50,000 Crowd,” Straits Times, 26 July 2015. (From Factiva via NLB’s eResources website)
3. “All Venues,” Singapore Sports Hub, n.d.
4. Lim Say Heng, “A Dome Like No Other,” New Paper, 7 October 2012, 48–49. (From NewspaperSG)
5. Godfrey Robert, The Dream Lives On (Singapore: Straits Times Press, 2008), 5, 16. (Call no. RSING 796.0685957 ROB)
6. Jeffrey Low, “The Grand OId DameHas to Go,” Straits Times, 2 February 2001, 1; Ernest Luis, “New National Stadium Wanted,” Straits Times, 11 February 2001, 48. (From NewspaperSG)
7. Ministry of Community Development and Sports, Singapore, Report of the Committee on Sporting Singapore (Singapore: Ministry of Community Development and Sports, 2001), Foreword. (Call no. RSING 796.095957 REP)
8. “PwC Heads Study on National Stadium,” Business Times, 22 June 2002, 5; Jeffrey Low, “National Stadium to Make Way for Sports Centre,” Straits Times, 16 February 2003, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
9. Yaacob Ibrahim, “The Launch of the Code of Governance for National Sports Associations,” speech, Suntec Ballroom, 15 February 2003, transcript, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. (National Archives of Singapore document no. 2003021502)
10. Low, “National Stadium to Make Way for Sports Centre.”
11. Marc Lim, “Sports Hub Developer to Finance and Run It as Well,” Straits Times, 16 December 2005, 3. (From NewspaperSG)
12. Lim, “Sports Hub Developer to Finance”; Parliament of Singapore, Delayed or Terminated Infrastructure Projects, vol. 88 of Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 16 January 2012, col. 805. (Call no. RSING 328.5957 SIN)
13. Lim, “Sports Hub Developer to Finance.”
14. Jeanette Wang and Leonard Lim, “The Dome Picked for Sports Hub,” Straits Times, 20 January 2008, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
15. Sports Council, Singapore, “Singapore Launches Invitation to Tender for Sports Hub PPP Project,” press release, 31 July 2006; Tan Yo-Hinn, “And Then There Were Three,” Today, 27 April 2006, 58 (From NewspaperSG); Sports Council, Singapore, “Watersports Centre To Be Incorporated Into Singapore Sports Hub Project,” press release, 14 June 2007.
16. Sports Council, Singapore, “Three Consortiums Short-listed for Singapore Sports Hub Project,” press release, 26 March 2006.
17. Leonard Lim, “Sports Hub Proposals Promise to Add Buzz to Kallang,” Straits Times, 6 November 2007, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
18. Lim, “Promise to Add Buzz to Kallang”; Cubby Leong, “Australian Connection for S'pore Sport,” Today, 6 November 2007, 52. (From NewspaperSG)
19. Lim, “Promise to Add Buzz to Kallang.”
20. Lim, “Promise to Add Buzz to Kallang.”
21. Low Lin Fhoong, “Out to Revive a Unique Roar,” Today, 6 November 2007, 52. (From NewspaperSG)
22. Wang and Lim, “Dome Picked for Sports Hub.”
23. Leonard Lim, “A Winner in Every Way: Finance,” Straits Times, 20 January 2008, 34; Marc Lim, “Winning Theme: Team Work,” Straits Times, 20 January 2008, 35. (From NewspaperSG)
24. Leonard Lim, “Programming,” Straits Times, 20 January 2008, 34. (From NewspaperSG)
25. Lim, “Finance.”
26. Sports Council, Singapore, “Singapore Sports Hub – Marking a New Chapter of a Sporing Singapore,” press release, 29 September 2010.
27. Sports Council, Singapore, “Sports Hub: Building a Lasting Legacy,” press release, 27 November 2009; Parliament of Singapore, Delayed or Terminated Infrastructure Projects, col. 805.
28. Les Tan, “Demolition of National Stadium Officially Begins,” Red Sports, 29 September 2010; “Construction Commences on Singapore Sports Hub,” Arup, 25 March 2011.
29. Ronda Ng, “Foundation Laid for New National Stadium,” Red Sports, 16 September 2011.
30. Les Tan, “Work on World’s Largest Dome Begins at Singapore Sports Hub,” Red Sports, 5 October 2012.
31. “Singapore’s National Stadium Fixed Roof Steelwork Complete,” Arup, 19 July 2013; Chan U-Gene, “Sports Hub on Track to Open Next April,” Straits Times, 11 June 2013, 2–3. (From NewspaperSG)
32. Low Lim Fhoong, “Sports Hub ‘More Than 80%’ Complete,” Today, 20 May 2014, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
33. Sports Singapore, “Singapore Sports Hub – Marking a New Chapter of a Sporing Singapore – Annex B,” press release, 29 September 2010.
34. Sports Singapore, “Annex B.”
35. May Chen, “OCBC Secures $50 Million, 15-Year Naming Rights Deal as Main Sponsorship Partner of Singapore Sports Hub,” Straits Times, 11 November 2013. (From Factiva via NLB’s eResources website)
36. Ian De Cotta, “OCBC Bags Sports Hub Naming Rights for S$50M,” Today, 12 November 2013. (From NewspaperSG)
37. Terence Ong, “Rugby: New National Stadium Opens Its Doors as It Hosts the World Club 10s,” Straits Times, 21 June 2014. (From Factiva via NLB’s eResources website)
38. Lim Yong Teck, “New OCBC Aquatic Centre Opens; Hosts First Major Event,” Red Sports, 24 June 2014; “Singapore Sports Hub Open for Business,” Starting Line, July 2014.
39. Starting Line, “Singapore Sports Hub Open for Business.”
40. Sanjay Nair, “Sports Hub Dome to Undergo Works to Ensure No Repeat of Leaks Which Hit Jay Chou Concert,” Straits Times, 13 January 2015; Low Lin Fhoong, “National Stadium Pitch under Fire,” Today, 19 August 2014, 31. (From NewspaperSG)
41. Boh, “PM Marks Youth Day.”
42. Tien Chung Ping, et al., “Under One Roof,” Straits Times, 27 February 2014, 12–13; Marc Lim, “Can the Sports Hub Bring in the Crowds?” Straits Times, 15 June 2013, 23. (From NewspaperSG)
43. Tien, et al., “Under One Roof.”
44. Sports Hub, Singapore, “All Venues.”
45. “Singapore Sports Hub,” ActiveSG, accessed 13 August 2015.
46. Sports Hub, Singapore, “All Venues.”
47. ActiveSG, “Singapore Sports Hub.”
48. Nabilah Said, “The New Sports Hub: 10 Things to Do in Kallang,” Straits Times, 20 March 2015, 4–5. (From NewspaperSG)
49. “About Us,” Singapore Sports Hub, n.d.; “Singapore Sports Hub Library,” Sport Singapore, 10 February 2014; Sports Hub, Singapore, “All Venues.”
50. ActiveSG, “Singapore Sports Hub.”
51. Sports Hub, Singapore, “All Venues.”
52. Low, “Grand OId DameHas to Go.”
53. Low, “National Stadium to Make Way for Sports Centre.”
54. Lim, “Sports Hub Developer to Finance.”
55. Tan, “There Were Three.”
56. Wang and Lim, “Dome Picked for Sports Hub.”
57. Sport Singapore, “Singapore Sports Hub Deal Signed,” press release, 25 August 2010.
58. Tan, “Demolition of National Officially Begins”; Chia Han Keong, “Sports Hub on Track for April 2014 Opening.” My Paper, 27 September 2011. (From Factiva via NLB’s eResources website)
59. “Construction Commences on Singapore Sports Hub,” Arup, 25 March 2011.
60. Ng, “Foundation Laid for New National Stadium”; “Field of Dreams: Singapore Sports Hub to Open By April 2014,” Asia Outlook, 4 June 2013.
61. Tan, “Work on World’s Largest Dome Begins.”
62. Arup, “National Stadium Fixed Roof Steelwork Complete”; Chan, “Sports Hub on Track.”
63. Low, “Sports Hub ‘More Than 80%’ Complete.”
64. Lim, “New OCBC Aquatic Centre Opens.”
65. Starting Line, “Singapore Sports Hub Open for Business.”
66. Boh, “PM Marks Youth Day.”
J. Teo, “A Sports Hub for All: Guide to Singapore Sports Hub Facilities,” Straits Times, 10 September 2014. (From Factiva via NLB’s eResources website)
Lee U-Wen, “ S’pore Sports Hub – a Public-Private Sector Dance,” Business Times, 13 October 2014, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
Sanjay Nair, “National Stadium Field Fiasco: No Use Warring with Sport Singapore, Says Sports Hub COO,” Straits Times, 15 October 2014. (From Factiva via NLB’s eResources website)
Sport Singapore, “Invitation to Tender for Singapore Sports Hubs Comes to a Successful Close,” press release, 28 February 2007.
The information in this article is valid as of 26 October 2015 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.