By Nisha Ramchandani
OVER 50 per cent of the general tickets for the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix have been sold, while take-up of corporate hospitality has been "strong", according to race promoter Singapore GP (SGP).
"Ticket sales have been brisk, thanks largely to a fantastic F1 season. With six different winners from the six races to date, it is anybody's game which will surely make for an exciting spectacle on our circuit come September," said Michael Roche, SGP executive director.
Some 65,000 general admission tickets - excluding single-day tickets - and 10,000 corporate hospitality tickets have been released for sale.
Corporate tickets that are proving popular include the Paddock Club, the Green Room as well as the Sky Suites, the race organiser said, without revealing numbers. Its corporate hospitality suites have seen enhancements to layout, decor and menu, which are helping to fuel demand.
Singapore is in the final lap of its five-year contract as a host venue for the sport. It is currently in talks with the Formula One Administration (FOA) on a possible renewal, though if the nation does not extend its contract, it still would have to serve out a two-year notice period starting 2013.
This comes as F1 is seeking a listing on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in an IPO that could raise up to US$3 billion. However, F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone recently indicated in a media interview that the IPO could be postponed due to market volatility, citing the recent performance of Facebook post-IPO.
UBS, one of the joint global coordinators for the IPO, expects F1's revenue to jump from US$1.52 billion in 2011 to US$2.37 billion in 2016, on the back of a growing calendar of venues coupled with higher advertising and sponsorship sales, Reuters reported citing a research note. F1's ebitda is reportedly expected to increase 7.6 per cent a year over the same period.
Separately, SGP also announced that singer-songwriter Noel Gallagher, formerly of rock band Oasis, is joining the list of artistes performing over the Grand Prix weekend, a line-up which includes Jay Chou, Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Bananarama, Pretenders and The Proclaimers.
He is scheduled to perform on the Padang stage on Sept 22 and at the Village Stage before the Formula One race on Sept 23.
This article was first published in The Business Times.