SINGAPORE, April 11 (The Straits Times/ANN): The return of major sporting events to Singapore this year could see the recovery of the events ecosystem occur sooner than expected.
Millions will be spent to organize such events, generate business, create jobs and boost the economy.
The two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic had seen many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) battered.
But big events such as the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens being held this weekend, as well as upcoming events such as the 2022 OCBC Cycle and the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix, could boost the economy through the creation of new jobs in all sectors.
Rostam Umar, head of strategy group at Sport Singapore, said more than 15 major sporting events were scheduled for 2022, up from four in 2021.
Paul Kent, partner at KPMG in Singapore, said that in addition to the staff needed for these events, other secondary industries such as security, logistics and marketing are also benefiting from increased demand for their services.
More than 300 people and 40 companies, from industries ranging from healthcare and hospitality to automotive and technology, are involved in next month’s OCBC round in different roles such as sponsors, contractors and suppliers.
Koh Ching Ching, group brand and communications manager at OCBC Bank, said the bank has invested millions of dollars in OCBC Cycle over the past 13 years.
“A mass event like this spurs the growth of related businesses like personal bikes and peripherals because it brings people together to pursue a fun group activity.”
Selena Ling, chief economist and head of research and cash strategy at OCBC, said sporting events can add dynamism and buzz to the entire hospitality and entertainment industry, which could in turn attract more visitors to Singapore.
“They will go hand-in-hand with the acceleration of the recovery of sectors related to aviation and tourism,” she added.
The return of mass sporting events comes as the government set aside $500 million to revive the tourism sector, following the reopening of Singapore’s borders to all fully vaccinated travellers.
Kent said Singapore will need to quickly restore confidence in its economic stability and also reclaim its position as a regional hub by increasing the country’s visibility as a viable venue for large-scale international events.
The cancellation of many live events since 2020 to curb the spread of Covid-19 had also forced event operators out of work.
Kurt Wee, president of the Association of Small and Medium Businesses, noted how many businesses had to take out temporary bridging loans to get through the crisis.
“We certainly hope that as more events are rolled out, there will be sustained growth in demand, so businesses can begin to benefit from the return of operations and sustained production capacity.” , did he declare.
The HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens saw 91% of its tickets sold. About 22,000 spectators attended the event this weekend.
More than 90% of suppliers and partners who worked on the event were local SMEs, organizer Singapore Rugby Sevens said.
Mark Tan, director of event logistics company TKH Deco, said the upcoming OCBC cycle will be the first major sporting event his company handles this year. This will bring about $200,000 in revenue.
“My company has had no revenue from live events for almost two years. Fortunately, we have managed to get business by providing barricades to workers’ dormitories,” said Mr. Tan, whose workforce has grown from 60 to 40 due to the pandemic.
“I will bid for the Formula 1 race. Hopefully I can reach 50% of my income before the pandemic.”
Daryl Tan, senior manager of cycle organizer OCBC Pich Event Management, is grateful that in-person rides are resuming this year after a two-year hiatus, but with a cap of 2,000 attendees.
He called it a small step towards the recovery of the sporting events ecosystem, as in-person events create many opportunities for businesses.
Infinitus Productions, which staged around 15 mass sporting events in 2019, has five races in the works for 2022.
The company’s chief executive, Mr. Jeffrey Foo, expects this year’s revenue to reach around $4-5 million, or about 40% of its revenue in 2019.
“A lot of businesses have suffered from the lack of events. I had to take out a bridging loan to weather the storm. If events don’t come back this year, I would have to close up shop,” said Mr Foo, whose l The company had previously organized races such as The Straits Times Run, Sundown Marathon and Great Eastern Women’s Run.
“Fortunately, we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Singapore reported 2,568 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Monday, bringing the total to 1,140,569.
Among the new cases, 388 cases were detected by PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and 2,180 by ART (rapid antigen test) tests, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Health.
Of the PCR cases, 373 were local transmissions and 15 were imported cases. Of the ART cases with mild symptoms and assessed as low risk, 2,119 were local transmissions and 61 imported cases, respectively.
A total of 339 cases are currently hospitalized, including 18 cases in intensive care units.
Two more patients died of complications from the Covid-19 infection, bringing the death toll to 1,303, the ministry said. – The Straits Times/ANN