Singapore's new Sports Hub unveils rugby, tennis and music events

SINGAPORE Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:31pm EST

SINGAPORE Feb 27 (Reuters) - Sports fans can look forward to international rugby and women's tennis - along with Asian soccer, swimming and badminton events - once the new Singapore Sports Hub has its soft launch in April and opens fully in June.

Other attractions announced on Thursday included concerts by Lionel Ritchie in April, Taylor Swift in June and Taiwanese star Jay Chou in November. (www.sportshub.com.sg)

The new complex, featuring the 55,000-seat National Stadium and a variety of other facilities, gives Singapore the economy of scale to host large sporting events and concerts as the Southeast Asian city-state markets itself as a world-class leisure and lifestyle destination.

Philippe Delavaud, chief executive of SportsHub Pte Ltd, said more events will be confirmed as promoters look at the new stadium and the existing 13,000-seat Indoor Stadium, which has become part of the complex.

The Women's Tennis Association championships will be held at Indoor Stadium in October and ASEAN Football Championship matches at National Stadium late in the year.

"We are continuously improving the lineup," Delavaud, a former chief executive of Stade de France, told reporters. "Our strategy, it's not to create a stadium for specific types of events. It's really to offer a portfolio of events."

Sports Hub, east of the downtown core on a plot the size of 70 football fields, is still a construction site.

But the organisers insist everything will be ready in time for the April launch and two events in June - the rugby World Club 10s in the big stadium and the Southeast Asia swimming championships at the aquatic centre.

The complex - for public use and training by Singapore's national athletes - also has a number of arenas and courts, plus commercial space and a water sports area in Kallang Basin.

Low Teo Ping, president of the Singapore Rugby Union, said he could not yet reveal the teams lined up for the World Club 10s - a hybrid of the sevens and 15s games - but they will come from "the northern and southern hemispheres, from right across the world".

"We've just put in our expression of interest to host the Rugby Sevens Series that will begin next year," he said. "We've also put in our expression of interest to bid for the Rugby World Cup in 2018."

Developed by a consortium of companies in a build-operate-transfer deal, the complex will revert to the government's Singapore Sports Council at the end of the 25-year contract. (Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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