SINGAPORE - The new Singapore Sports Hub has pencilled in next May for its official opening, and is likely to launch with a football match that could well get the Kallang Roar going again.
Sports Hub managing director Mark Collins gave a strong hint on Tuesday that the new 55,000-capacity National Stadium could host "the Beautiful Game" when it opens.
Speaking at the unveiling of the Sports Hub's Premium Seats Membership hospitality programme, he said: "The stadium will open with an event that is very close to the heart of the Kallang Roar."
But fans looking forward to seeing a side with top players when the new stadium opens are likely to be disappointed. Match promoters The Straits Times spoke to said that with 2014 being a World Cup year, it is unlikely that top international sides will be available one month before the start of the football tournament.
Mr Collins said the exact date and more details of the official opening of the hub - scheduled for completion next April - will be announced later.
He confirmed that the hub has about 60 events lined up until December 2015, headlined by the 2015 SEA Games and tennis' WTA Championships, which Singapore will host for five years starting next year.
According to Mr Adrian Staiti, senior vice-president for global partnerships, stadiums and arenas at World Sport Group, which is part of the Singapore Sports Hub Consortium, the stadium will have five weeks of test events prior to its official opening, to ensure that the facilities work.
The first trial could be the Schools National Track and Field Championships, which was held at Choa Chu Kang Stadium in April. Singapore Athletics Association (SAA) general manager James Wong said it has discussed the possibility of organising next year's championships at the Sports Hub in April with the Ministry of Education.
"This will be a good rehearsal for SAA to familiarise ourselves with the new facilities and security arrangements ahead of the 2015 South-east Asia Games."
Mr R. Sasikumar, managing director of Red Card Group which organises the Lion City Cup, said it is also in talks to move the youth football tournament from Jalan Besar Stadium to Kallang.
Events aside, visitors to the Sports Hub can look forward to being part of an exclusive club that will allow them to have first option to purchase tickets to events.
A total of 1,655 premium seats, each costing $1,950 annually, will be made available. Members of this hospitality programme get to view the action from padded seats with arm rests, have access to a lounge and members-only carpark, and enter the National Stadium via a private lobby.