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Benefits of attracting marquee acts to Singapore and how they can be more accessible

Response to parliamentary questions on the benefits of hosting marquee acts with better accessibility

Oral PQ 5806. Ms Usha Chandradas: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth what is the estimated dollar value of the net economic return expected from Government grants and subsidies issued to pop singer Taylor Swift and her team, with the aim of motivating them to hold Swift’s The Eras Tour concerts in Singapore in 2024.

Oral PQ 5808. Mr Xie Yao Quan: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) what is the total economic value-add expected from Taylor Swift's The Eras Tour concerts in Singapore; and (b) how were the size and conditionality of the grant offered by the Government to bring the tour to Singapore determined.
Oral PQ 5809. Mr Xie Yao Quan: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) what is the total economic value-add expected from concerts held in Singapore in the first half of 2024; (b) whether the Ministry has set a target for the total economic value-add derived from hosting concerts in Singapore for the full year; (c) if so, whether the Ministry expects to be on track to achieve the full-year target; and (d) what are the Ministry's strategies to remain on track to achieve its target amidst intense regional competition.
Oral PQ 5810. Mr Xie Yao Quan: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth whether the Ministry is looking into ways to make concerts by marquee acts such as Coldplay and Taylor Swift in Singapore more inclusive and accessible for Singaporeans.

  1. The Government took over the Singapore Sports Hub in 2022, with the vision: one, to establish Singapore and the Sports Hub as the leading sports and entertainment destination in the region; two, to inculcate a strong sense of affinity between Singaporeans and the Sports Hub; and three, to maximise synergies across the suite of facilities in the broader Kallang Alive precinct, in order to better activate the precinct.
  2. Kallang Alive Sport Management (KASM), the entity that was put in charge of operating the Sports Hub after Government takeover, set out to be more than simply a venue for hire. KASM has a team which actively identifies and curates suitable content and programmes and brings them into Singapore. Our aim is to bring a whole spectrum of events to Kallang for Singaporeans, from top tier marquee events to community-related ones, and from music concerts to sporting and social events.
  3. Since we took over, the Sports Hub has seen a 30% increase in sports, entertainment, and community and lifestyle event days since the Government takeover, compared to the best number of event days prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. There were some questions at takeover around whether the Sports Hub would be able to continue to attract top tier events into Singapore. In the last year, apart from the ongoing Taylor Swift concerts, we have brought in several world class acts, such as Mayday, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Jacky Cheung. We have also brought in marquee sporting events including the FIBA Intercontinental Cup that came to Asia for the first time in 2023, the Super 750 Series Singapore Badminton Open, HSBC Sevens Singapore, WTT Singapore Smash, of which the third edition will begin sometime later this week, and innovative concepts such as fitness racing series Hyrox.
  5. In the case of Taylor Swift, we moved fast and early to bring her show into Singapore. We did so as we recognised the large Swifties fanbase in Singapore and in the region, and were keen to deliver the concert experience to them, right here at the Sports Hub.
    • The idea for A-list marquee events to be staged at the Sports Hub was conceived of even before the Government takeover in December 2022, as we recognised the tremendous upside of such concerts to Singapore.
    • In February 2023, my colleagues and I from the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), SportSG and KASM went to the United States to study the sport and entertainment industry. When the opportunity to discuss holding a Taylor Swift concert in Singapore came up, we broached it immediately, subsequently discussed it in detail and thereafter, reached an agreement for Singapore to be one of Taylor Swift’s tour stops.
    • We also saw the opportunity to make this a uniquely Singapore experience and it hence made sense to take a whole-of-Government approach and subsequently, other agencies such as the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) were brought in.
  6. STB undertook its own assessment of the potential benefits of bringing the concert to Singapore and subsequently offered a grant to the concert promoter. STB assesses whether to give grants on a case-by-case basis, judiciously weighing up the benefits which might accrue to Singapore if the event were brought in. There has been some online speculation as to the size of the grant. I can say that it is not accurate and not anywhere as high as speculated, but due to business confidentiality reasons, we cannot reveal the specific size of the grant or the conditions of the grant.
  7. However, I can assure Members of the House that the economic benefits to Singapore are assessed to be significant and outweigh the size of the grant. The direct economic benefits include for instance, additional tourist arrivals and additional spending on tickets, flights, hotel stays as well as entertainment, retail and dining in Singapore. Other cities who have hosted Taylor Swift concerts similarly reported an increase in economic activity arising from the concerts and we would expect the same in Singapore. Several market analysts have estimated a dollar range of the economic upside which we are likely to see, from the staging of the concerts, and whilst the event has not yet concluded, these may well be right.
  8. In addition, beyond the tourism and economic benefits, being able to host A-list artistes such as Taylor Swift will help position Singapore as a cultural hub in Southeast Asia, capable of hosting a range of different arts, music and culture events, as well as major sporting and lifestyle events. This helps to brand Singapore as a fun, vibrant destination.
  9. The Straits Times noted, for instance, that the benefits include, I quote, “economic growth, cultural enrichment, to global recognition”, whilst Nikkei Asia reported that the concerts, I quote, “underscore the city-state’s growing status as a pop culture destination”. Business Times also noted that these events made us, I quote, “look like a modern, open-minded and vibrant place”.
  10. I would add that grants alone would not decide where a performer goes. Promoters of top artistes will do their own calculation and assess where they want to perform and for how long. One major consideration is the location, which is key. There are many reasons why world-class artistes choose to host large-scale concerts in Singapore. These include Singapore’s strategic location, quality infrastructure, good amenities, safety, efficiency and diverse cultural offerings. KASM also proactively works with the artistes and promoters, to make their experience of performing in Singapore a good one. All of this helps when attracting top class events into Singapore.
  11. Singapore faces intense regional competition for these concerts and other such events, and we will need to continue investing in our infrastructure and software to continue attracting marquee entertainment, lifestyle and sporting events into Singapore.
  12. I want to add before I conclude that KASM’s mission goes beyond adding economic value to Singapore. It also extends to building Singaporeans’ affinity with the Sports Hub, as I said at the outset. We are exploring ways for more Singaporeans from all backgrounds to enjoy marquee acts. To Mr Xie Yao Quan’s specific question, for some concerts including high demand ones like Coldplay and Taylor Swift, KASM retains some tickets and works with SportCares, which is SportSG’s charity and philanthropic arm, SG Cares Volunteer Centres, SouthEast Community Development Centre and other organisations to give tickets to beneficiaries from lower-income families or at-risk families, as well as volunteers from these organisations, so that they too can be a part of the Sports Hub experience.
  13. On other occasions, we have also activated areas in the precinct to allow other members of the community to busk in the atmosphere. This includes both entertainment events such as the Taylor Swift concerts as well as sporting events. For example, at the Singapore Smash 2023, we had community activations at OCBC Square and also across the island with tables set up at 18 venues through Singapore whilst the main event was happening at the Sports Hub. This provided Singaporeans with the opportunity to try their hand at table tennis and doing it on the same tables, top class tables, that were used by the best players in the world.
  14. Beyond marquee entertainment and sports events, KASM has a dedicated team that looks at delivering more community programmes. While we cover a range of top-tier events that are ticketed, there are also non-ticketed and non-revenue-generating events such as the large-scale festivals during Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Deepavali. This ensures that we have strong social return by providing programmes for everyone to bond, interact and build affinity with the Sports Hub. For example, Sports Hub had hosted a record 43 National School Games (NSG) Finals event days in FY2023. That is more than twice the number of 16 NSG finals event days before COVID-19, which stood at 60.
  15. MCCY, SportSG and KASM will work hard, continue to hustle, and do our best to bring top class events here, but also continue to make the Sports Hub even more accessible to all Singaporeans.
Last updated on 19 March 2024