Rugby Singapore-Sports Hub partnership for World Rugby Sevens event
Rugby Singapore and Sports Hub in strategic tie-up for World Rugby Sevens event
The organisers of April's HSBC World Rugby Sevens leg in Singapore are not expecting to make a profit this year, the first of at least four years it will host the event.
But that has not stopped Rugby Singapore, a subsidiary of Singapore Rugby Union (SRU), from securing Sports Hub Pte Ltd as its long-term "strategic" partner.
In a media conference at the National Stadium yesterday to announce the partnership, SRU president Low Teo Ping said: "We will share revenues, it's a business relationship.
"It takes away a lot of the kinks in terms of having to negotiate, renegotiate and having to put in more money year on year."
The Sports Hub will "share risks and responsibilities" in organising the tournament on April 16 and 17, absorbing the rental costs of the 55,000-seater stadium and other sites in the Sports Hub, and jointly market the event locally and regionally.
It is the first time Singapore is hosting such an event since the International Rugby Board Singapore Sevens at the old National Stadium in 2006.
It will host the eighth stop of the 10-city series, with intense competition expected in the lead-up to August's Rio Olympics, where Rugby 7s will make its debut.
Citing the partnership as a "win-win" situation, Sports Hub CEO Manu Sawhney said: "We are sharing the risk because we do share the vision that we can generally make this event a success over a period of time.
"We are prepared to see that even if it doesn't happen in Year One, there is enough resilience and commitment from both sides to be partners to build it."
Low added: "We must also look at ourselves and ask what we want to do.
"Do we want to be purely the property owner of the event and go in and rent the venue?
"At the end of the day, we (Rugby Singapore) are not a highly capitalised organisation. We have to moderate our expectations."
It is the first time the Sports Hub is entering such a partnership with an event organiser since it opened in June 2014.
The $1.33-billion facility came into the spotlight in recent months over the costs of holding events such as the Asia Masters athletics championships, football's Merlion Cup and the National Day Parade (NDP) at the National Stadium.
Following negotiations with the respective organisers, the Asia Masters and the NDP will be held at the National Stadium this year, while the Merlion Cup is reportedly on hold indefinitely.
Asked if Rugby Singapore's partnership is something other national sports associations can follow in organising events at the Sports Hub's centrepiece, Low said: "I am involved only in rugby, I don't know how other people operate, so it's very difficult (to comment).
"It is about the product at the end of the day... And I am sure it (the partnership) will set the stage for us to be more successful than if we did not (have this deal)."
The organisers are hoping to attract some 25,000 people over two days, with ticket prices marked as low as $2 for children below 12.
Also, entertainment acts - catering to people in their 20s to 40s - will be lined up after the matches on April 16, with Low and his team in discussions to "bring the party" to a secondary location after that.
The second day of the tournament would be more family-oriented, with schools competitions interspersed with the elite Rugby 7s event's knockout stages.
Sawhney said: "We want to make the Singapore leg of the Rugby 7s one of the most highly anticipated legs in terms of the experience that we can give to the fans."