Over the past two decades, Singapore has built a reputation as a venue that can quickly and efficiently host a wide range of sporting events.

Looking to the future, the city wants to be a cradle for innovation in the organization of sporting events, adopting new technologies, new event formats and sustainability.

Today, there is more pressure than ever on sporting event organizers to innovate. There are more high-quality events than ever competing for consumers’ time and money. Singapore stands as a host that can help event organizers experiment and execute new ideas and reach new audiences.

speaking to SportBusiness Recently, Roy Teo, head of industrial development, technology and innovation at Sport Singapore (SportSG), said: “Singapore is not just a host city, but a city that can make a difference in the sports we host.”

Proven Host

Singapore has a history as a destination of choice for many sporting events due to unique selling points including good governance, high-quality sports infrastructure, and a high-quality destination experience for visitors.

Fiba, which recently made Singapore the host city for its 3×3 Asian Cup for the next three years, sees it as a gateway to Asia and a venue that embodies some of 3×3 basketball’s key branding propositions. . “Singapore has been on the FIBA ​​3×3 wish list from the very beginning, especially after the first official 3×3 competition at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games,” says Alex Sanchez, 3×3 Managing Director. of the federation “It has all the ingredients of the 3×3: urban, youthful and innovative. One of the main growth regions for 3×3 has always been Southeast Asia, with Singapore being the natural pivot for us in the region.”

Another event that chose Singapore to debut in its inaugural edition is Arena Games Triathlon. Michael d’Hulst of Super League Triathlon, which this year hosted a historic Arena Games Triathlon final in the city, says: “For international sports rights holders to do anything in Asia, the stakeholder map can be quite confusing… As an entry point, Singapore is a great place.”

Event organizers appreciate high-quality infrastructure and visitor experiences. An HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens spokesperson says: “Singapore offers an all-around event experience that is first-rate from start to finish. That starts from the airport and continues through transportation, hotels and general tourist appeal.”

This attraction as a place for visitors is good for event marketing, says Fiba’s Sánchez: “Singapore is one of the most important cities in the world, therefore it has a strong marketing halo.”

These credentials have helped Singapore establish a strong event roster. The Formula 1 Grand Prix, running since 2008, is the jewel in the crown. Other annual gatherings include the HSBC Women’s Champions LPGA Golf Tournament, the Singapore Open Men’s Asian Tour Golf Tournament, the Singapore Rugby Sevens, a World Table Tennis Grand Smash and the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.

The city is also a regular host to pre-season matches for major European soccer teams and top-class mixed martial arts events from local promoter ONE Championship, as well as the global group Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Recently, it has been expanding its esports calendar, hosting events including The International de Dota in July 2022 and the Global Esports Federation’s inaugural Global Esports Games in December 2021.

Superleague Triathlon Arena Games Singapore, May 2022. (Image: Darren Wheeler – That Cameraman/SuperLeague)

virtual exploration

While Singapore’s existing strengths are clear, they are no guarantee of future success. Throughout the global sports industry, there is a feeling that we are moving into a new era. Digital media and technology are reshaping consumer preferences, media consumption, and event experiences. The digital native younger generations have different tastes and attitudes when it comes to sport than older generations. The pandemic encouraged the exploration and development of virtual and remote alternatives to traditional mass gathering experiences.

SportSG’s Teo says that Singapore’s event strategy is embracing these changes, looking at new types of events and new ways of organizing events: “A lot of sports are already moving in this direction of innovation, in the use of technology, in terms of of its format,” he said. he says.

“Singapore can play a role by offering a place for innovation to take place. We are agile enough to move quickly. we have different places [and] We have different ways of overlapping places. These things give us an advantage in terms of how we can test new ideas.”

Singapore’s naming as host of next year’s inaugural Olympic Esports Week (OEW) signals its vision for the future of its sporting event hosting business.

The OEW is the next step in the International Olympic Committee’s exploration of games. Aiming to engage new audiences, particularly young audiences, OEW is a week of gaming contests and showcases. The competitions will be developed based on games created in collaboration with international federations. Virtual sports and gaming technology exhibits, panel discussions and educational sessions will help familiarize attendees with this new world.

Fiba 3×3 Asia Cup, Singapore, July 2022. (Image: Sport Singapore)

Announcing the OEW, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “The first Olympic Esports Week marks a major milestone in our ambition to support the growth of virtual sports within the Olympic Movement. We believe the exciting new format of our virtual sports competition, with live finals taking place for the first time, is an opportunity to further engage with esports players and create new opportunities for players and fans alike. It is a perfect opportunity to partner with Singapore, which has a history of supporting innovation in the Olympic Movement, by hosting the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010.”

Full details of the OEW will be released in early 2023. A taste of the IOC’s ambitions in the games came at the Virtual Olympic Series in 2021. The 10.5-hour globally broadcast event saw competition across five games. sports, including baseball, cycling, rowing, sailing, and motor racing.

Singapore is particularly interested in exploring the area of ​​”virtual sports”, including esports and gaming events, as well as hybrid events that combine virtual and real life competitions.

Teo says: “Virtual sports are breaking down physical barriers, gender barriers and skill barriers. Can able-bodied athletes play less able athletes in the same game? [In virtual sports] the answer is yes… This is a big change in the world of sports. And I think if we are prepared for it, we can do very well.”

In addition to fully virtual sports, there is also the hybrid sports arena that has grown in popularity in recent years. In July 2022, SLT’s Arena Games Triathlon combined virtual and real-life elements into an engaging new concept. Professional triathletes competed on treadmills and stationary bikes, with their progress represented in virtual worlds for both competitors and the public to see in real time. The swimming section was a real life open water swim. But this also had a novel element: it was the first swimming event to take place in Marina Bay, the waterfront reservoir surrounded by Singapore’s high-rise cityscape.

The new and shorter formats of traditional sports are a longstanding area of ​​exploration and innovation. But the focus on them is only increasing as sports realize they are operating in an increasingly competitive entertainment and leisure landscape.

Fiba’s 3×3 competitions, including the Asian Cup in Singapore, are an important part of the international basketball federation’s work to reach new and younger audiences.

Teo says the new formats, which appeal to new audiences, are also helping Singapore achieve an important goal for event planning: getting Singaporeans active and involved in sport.

He says: “We want new formats that appeal not only to the traditional sports audience, but also to people who haven’t been watching. How do we get them into sport? One of our goals is to inspire the community, inspire people. If they are not attracted to the traditional formats, then it is a question of how we can modify the formats, but keeping the essence of the sport. Maybe with different formats. Maybe with a different presentation…”

Environmental sustainability is another area in which Singapore is looking to innovate. Shorter events, carbon offsetting, extensive use of public transport and having a small geographic footprint are some of the elements that are being put into practice, says Teo.

This year’s Fiba 3×3 Asia Cup was a test bed for a new sustainability framework. This came down to details like reducing the printing of paper schedule sheets, having reusable cutlery instead of disposable cutlery, and giving athletes and officials public transport cards to travel instead of transporting them in private cars.

Super League Triathlon Arena Games Singapore, May 2022. (Image: Darren Wheeler – That Cameraman/SuperLeague)

Innovating towards the future

Singapore has always been an innovator when it comes to hosting sporting events, says Teo. Formula 1’s iconic race was the motorsport series’ first night race. It was also the first street circuit in Asia. Hosting the first Youth Olympic Games in 2010 was also a powerful testament to Singapore’s capacity for innovation.

In a global entertainment landscape that is more competitive than ever, events and event hosts must continue to innovate and bring new ideas and experiences. “You need to rethink how people see your events, how do you engage your viewers, how do you engage people from all over the world… We are moving into uncharted waters for sporting events,” says Teo.

To chart a course in these waters, Singapore is taking advantage of technology, new formats and other innovations, and adding them to existing polished event planning capabilities. The ambition is to retain its place as one of the world’s leading sporting event hosts in the future.

St. Joseph’s Baby Pantry Hosts Donation Drive