Channel NewsAsia: F1 Singapore Grand Prix extended for another four years to 2021
15 Sep 2017 03:34PM
SINGAPORE: The Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix will be here until 2021, after Singapore's contract for the sport's only night race will be extended for another four years.
Formula 1 confirmed the deal on Friday (Sep 15), which comes after positive discussions between Formula 1 and Singapore Grand Prix organisers this month.
The fate of the marquee event hung in the balance as organisers negotiated its extension beyond 2017, amid slumping attendances and complaints of businesses being disrupted.
But tickets sales this year were up by about 20 per cent, race organisers said in its press release on Friday.
Keeping with tradition, they did not reveal the value of the deal. Officials have said operational costs in general have continued to rise over the past decade.
Despite that, the cost of organising the race is expected to be lower at about S$135 million each year, with experience gained from hosting it repeatedly. The Singapore Government's share of the bill remains at 60 per cent.
Over 90 per cent of race organisation is sub-contracted annually to Singapore-based companies. This makes them one of the key beneficiaries, whenever the Grand Prix rolls around to Singapore, organisers said.
"Our expectation is that we will continue to be able to get the same level of benefits, if not higher. And that's in terms of visitor arrivials, we've consistently been able to attract 40 to 50 per cent international visitors from the race crowd." said Singapore Tourism Board (STB) chief executive Lionel Yeo.
"DELIBERATE" NEGOTIATIONS: ISWARAN
In June, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said that it would not be rushed into an extension, saying that it wanted to "carefully consider the terms and benefits".
According to Mr Iswaran, the negotiations over the extension were "deliberate" and took some time because of several reasons, including changes in the ownership and management of Formula 1.
US group Liberty Media bought out a controlling share in Formula 1 last year, accelerating the exit of Briton Bernie Ecclestone, who ran the sport for nearly 40 years.
"We wanted to understand the new management’s vision and plans for Formula 1; the importance and role accorded to the Singapore race; and whether this was aligned with our own objectives," Mr Iswaran said at a press conference.
He added that the agencies also wanted to "thoroughly evaluate the medium term prospects for F1 and the value a term extension could bring to Singapore".
The Trade and Industry Minister said he was "glad that all parties have been able to agree on commercial terms for an extension, as Formula 1 and Singapore have been good for each other".
Organisers project that after this year's race, Singapore would have hosted more than 450,000 international visitors, contributing about S$1.4 billion in incremental tourism receipts.
SIGNATURE F1 RACE
STB's Mr Yeo said the race has provided an "excellent platform" for businesses to test bed new lifestyle initiatives and products.
"This has not only created an exciting atmosphere during the race season, but also injected creative concepts and experiences that continue to attract tourists to Singapore all year round," he said.
Singapore Grand Prix's Ong Beng Seng said the organisers have enjoyed a close working relationship with Formula 1 and all of its key players since 2008. "We believe this has been a beneficial partnership for all parties, for our city and for the sport, and we look forward to building on that foundation with F1’s new owners."
Formula 1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey called the Singapore Grand Prix a "signature Formula 1 race" and said he was pleased that it would continue to feature on the calendar for four more years.
"The first ever night race in this sport is one of the most thrilling events of the year, taking place against the stunning backdrop of Marina Bay. The Singapore Grand Prix, the Singapore Tourism Board and the Singapore Government have all done an excellent job of making this an event that involves the whole city," he added.