Singapore Open organisers need more sponsors before bidding again
In 2013, the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) launched an ambitious bid to make the Singapore Open a top-tier Superseries Premier event, despite not having secured a title sponsor before that bid.
The national sports association failed in that attempt for the current cycle, from 2014 to 2017, but improved the tournament in aspects such as stadium lighting and fan experience as a second-tier Superseries event, with OUE coming in as the main sponsor till next year.
Its media facility, helmed by Crowd PR, even won the inaugural Best Media Facility 2015 award by the AIPS (Association Internationale de la Presse Sportive) Badminton Commission this year.
But organisers said yesterday that the Singapore Open may not even be a Superseries event from 2018 onwards.
Bids for the Badminton World Federation tournaments start in about two months and the SBA is now unwilling to go big without sound financial backing this time.
"I'd rather not (bid for Singapore Open to even be a Superseries event)... SBA is a charitable organisation and we have reserves, but do we want to use it on one cycle of (Singapore Open) and wipe out the reserves?" said SBA secretary-general Michael Foo yesterday.
SBA chief executive Ronnie Lim said ticket sales for the event contribute at most 15 per cent of the costs of running the event, which he declined to reveal.
Sponsorship money contributes about 70 per cent of the event's cost, while both Lim and Foo declined to reveal to what extent grants from Sport Singapore help defray the cost.
While the SBA has been in touch with OUE on renewing its sponsorship beyond next year's tournament, it is looking to expand its pool of financiers.
There are currently five Superseries Premier events, where attendance is compulsory for players ranked in the top 10 and seven Superseries events, including the Singapore stop.
While details for the next cycle of tournaments have not been released, the minimum cost of a bid for the two top tiers is expected to rise.
"The prize money is US350,000 ($475,000), a few hundred thousand dollars in running costs," said Lim.
"We expect it (the costs) to become bigger and it may be impossible for us to do (without enough financial backing).