SINGAPORE – The Singapore Sports Hub is confident of staging more and bigger live events in 2021 on the back of its successful hosting of multiple One Championship events since October.

Its experience of Project Dorm, which saw the OCBC Arena and National Stadium transformed to house migrant workers to help contain the spread of Covid-19, has also showcased its ability to zone and accommodate a sizeable number of people without compromising on safe distancing.

Sports Hub chief executive Lionel Yeo said in a press release on Tuesday (Dec 29) it has been a challenging year but the $1.33 billion facility “has successfully rallied together to support the community whilst still offering the great experiences that we are known for”.

He added: “It has also been a year of important learnings, and we are eager to put together more safe and engaging events as we transition into Phase 3.

“With the right mindset and approach and the cooperation of all stakeholders, we believe that this national asset can deliver great value to Singapore through good times and bad.”

Mixed martial arts promotion One Championship held a closed-door event on Oct 9 and another on Oct 30, which was the first live sports event here to welcome spectators. It had 250 fans in attendance.

There have been four live shows in total and they are part of a pilot project the Government hopes will help identify a model that can be widely implemented so that more large-scale events can resume safely in Singapore.

While there have been positive cases involving overseas athletes and staff, these individuals were isolated as part of stringent protocols which allowed the shows to proceed as plan.

Some of these measures include the requirement for all foreign-based athletes, cornermen and staff to be isolated until they receive a negative test result, after which they will follow a strictly controlled itinerary that has been pre-approved.

Foreign-based athletes and One’s production crew are also required to be tested four times: before they depart their country, on arrival in Singapore, as well as before and after their fight.

With marquee events like rugby’s Singapore Sevens and the International Champions Cup football competition cancelled, the Sports Hub moved into “phygital” programmes that carry both online and offline elements.

In November, it hosted ZoomBa, a “phygital” event that saw both online and offline participants come together for Singapore’s Longest Zumba Relay.

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Despite safe management restrictions, the Sports Hub welcomed more than 4.8 million visitors this year and across November and December organised more than 140 activity sessions for Singaporeans.

The OCBC Aquatic Centre was especially popular, with entries up 41 per cent in the fourth quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2019.

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