Football set to open National Stadium

SINGAPORE - From the feverish days of the Malaysia Cup to the raucous visits of Manchester United and Liverpool, the "Grand Old Lady" at Kallang became Singapore's grand theatre for football for much of its life.

The famous old National Stadium became the home of the Lions, who raised the Kallang Roar.

Fittingly, the new 55,000-capacity National Stadium - the centrepiece of the Singapore Sports Hub - is likely to officially open with a football match next year.

At the unveiling of the new Premium Seats Membership yesterday, Sports Hub managing director Mark Collins said that a wide genre of events has been planned for the stadium's opening next April.

The highlight, he said, will be "an event the old Kallang Stadium was famous for".

"The stadium will open with an event that is very close to the heart of the Kallang Roar," Collins added.

"The calendar for the Hub is getting quite populated. But it would not be fair to reveal the events now and steal the thunder of the official opening away."

Collins, who said that the stadium was on track to open in April next year, revealed that the facility already has about 60 events confirmed on its calendar until December 2015.

"The process (of booking events) began years ago, so we have had quite a bit of time to work on it," he said.

"Don't forget the 60 events are just for the stadium, not the entire Hub. So we will be seeing more from the venue."

The Sports Hub will occupy a 35-hectare site at Kallang.

Besides the stadium, which will have a retractable roof, some of the other features of the $1.3 billion facility will be a 6,000-capacity indoor Aquatic Centre, a multi-purpose indoor arena, a water sports centre and 41,000 sq/m of commercial space.

"In terms of the number of events per year, we are looking at 50 to 70 for the first few years," Collins said.

"After five years, it could go up to 90 to 100. There is no minimum number, but events will be diverse - from sports to concerts."

It is still not known if the new National Stadium will host next year's National Day Parade (NDP). Collins said that an announcement would be made in due course.