With Asia’s rising economic prosperity, attention has been increasingly diverted from its medal-winning streaks in international sports competitions to the expansion and development of its sports management capabilities within the business arena. Already one of the biggest in the world, the Asia Pacific sports industry is expected to grow– with media rights and sponsorship being the fastest growing sector – therein representing a substantial, relatively-untapped market of investment opportunities for players across the industry.
After successfully hosting the 1st Youth Olympic Games in 2010 and the annual Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, Singapore has once again proven its mettle in the sports arena by securing five-year hosting rights for the Women’s Tennis Association Championships. The construction of the 35ha, US$1.05 billion Singapore Sports Hub is set to further expand upon Singapore’s presence within the sporting arena.
An increasing number of international sports corporations, such as World Sport Group, Fox Sports Asia (formerly ESPN Star Sports), are basing their operations in Singapore and banking on the city’s status as a regional sports hub. They rely on Singapore’s network of industry resources and access to potential test markets for new events, concepts and products.
Asia’s largest sports R&D centre, the Institute for Sports Research (ISR), is a collaborative tie-up between Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, Britain’s Loughborough University and the Economic Development Board. The ISR taps into the rich pool of sports business talent in Singapore, bringing together the best minds in the industry for development, testing and research. The resulting expertise captured in Singapore makes it a truly cutting-edge sports city.
Be it media distributors, sports brand owners or representatives of event and sports management, industry players within the sports arena are increasingly looking to Singapore for development opportunities. The increasing regional demand for sports-related training services has attracted the Manchester United Soccer School to establish its Southeast Asian Hub within Singapore, offering training services for youths from the region and beyond and drawing athletes from as far as Japan and Korea.
Over the years, Singapore has become home to a variety of sports conferences, exhibitions and conventions. Increasingly, regional buyers and businesses convene in Singapore to learn about the best business practices and latest industry offerings. This is evidenced by the high global visibility and attendance of events anchored in Singapore such as Sports Matters 2013, which featured international leaders, such as Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association, and attracted industry players from the region.
With the rise of the middle-class in Asia, the total sports industry revenue from the Asia Pacific region is expected to reach US$27.5 billion in 2015. The Asia Pacific consumer is and continues to be hungry for sports content. The completion and launch of the state of the art Sports Hub in 2014 gives rise to a host of opportunities to leverage the various features of this development including the National Stadium, indoor arenas and the Water Sports Centre. Sports businesses and sports business events geared towards thought leadership, sports sciences and research, sports media and rights, as well as sports facilities, venue management and technology should make full use of Singapore as a key and strategic gateway into the burgeoning ASEAN region.