Orient Magazine Issue 79 - October 2020 | Page 33


In Focus: Damian Bush, Managing Director, Singapore Sports Hub


It was great to see the UK come together that summer, and to see the enjoyment and buzz felt well beyond London. We were in such an event-planning bubble that you don’t get to experience all the little moments that people talk about until after the fact. Being involved in a project of that scale certainly helped me with the high-profile events I support today.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the events industry. How has the Singapore Sports Hub team adjusted through the past months and how are you planning for an eventual safe return to large scale events, given the long lead time necessary for planning?

We’ve been working hard to support the Government. The Singapore Sports Hub became a dormitory for migrant workers, with up to 3,000 people at any time staying here, predominantly in the National Stadium and OCBC Arena. We were running 24hr operation rooms working with multiple Government agencies and of course our team were classed as essential workers, so we really haven’t stopped. That experience made us safe management ready from the very start of the pandemic.

We work closely with Sport Singapore, the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth, Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Tourism Board. People look to us to take the lead in how venues can safely reopen and operate. We’ve opened venues and classes in safe distanced arrangements which is of course complex, but we are a big space and we’re built for big numbers. We’ve been fielding enquiries from event organisers and agency partners to start planning provisional dates for major future events, with everyone appreciating the need for flexibility and restrictions.

With the facilities covering a significant amount of real estate, how important is it to ensure that the local population is supportive of the Singapore Sports Hub project and can use the facilities beyond large-scale events? How are you enabling this community outreach?

This has been a great success story for us. The whole footfall is around 15 million.

On a mass

scale like this, event organisers can learn from and develop the best possible experiences for the audience and performers by sharing experiences. This all leads to building a strong foundation for our venue to encourage world-class performers to add us to the calendar.