Sports

Two venues for Singapore Open?

DEAL: SBA president Lee Yi Shyan (left) shaking hands with OUE Limited executive chairman Dr Stephen Riady. TNP PHOTO: CHOO CHWEE HUA

The OUE Singapore Open, or at least part of the marquee badminton competition here, may be held elsewhere, in the Singapore Sports Hub next year.

This was announced by Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) president Lee Yi Shyan yesterday, on the sidelines of a ceremony unveiling OUE Limited as the title sponsor of the Badminton World Federation SuperSeries event till 2017.

The competition has been held in the 12,000-capacity Singapore Indoor Stadium for years, but Lee raised the possibility of holding the Singapore Open at the 3,000-capacity OCBC Arena, another facility within the Sports Hub.

"(The smaller capacity) would be fine except the last two days, where we would probably need a bigger venue," said Lee, also the Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and National Development.

"But, if we use two venues, then there are additional costs, and spectators might be confused... and the tournament has got stringent requirements on lighting and flooring.

PROS AND CONS

"So, we haven't decided yet... we need to weigh the pros and cons, but we will be making a decision very soon."

Yesterday, the national sports association inked a three-year $2.2 million sponsorship deal with OUE.

The real estate owner and developer had earlier signed a deal to headline this year's tournament in April.

"Through our title sponsorship, OUE hopes to promote the development of badminton in schools and the community in Singapore," said OUE Limited executive chairman Dr Stephen Riady.

"We also believe that the OUE Singapore Open will continue to give local players the opportunity to compete at the highest levels."

The sponsorship will go a long way to the organisation of the event, which costs about $1.3m each year.

"We still need to find other sponsors; our ticketing revenue from the spectators is about 10 per cent each year," said Lee.

"If you look at ticketing prices for major events, this (ours) is really low because we give discounts to school children, senior citizens and season ticket holders. We don't expect much revenue from ticketing."