Badminton aficionados in Singapore have a reason to rejoice once more.
20 brand new, fully air-conditioned badminton courts have taken over part of the empty exhibition halls of Suntec City's Convention and Exhibition Centre, now rendered mostly defunct thanks to the pandemic, although there are plans in the pipeline to revive meetings, conventions and exhibitions.
The venue, called Teamsport Arena, is located on the sixth floor in adjacent halls 601 and 602. The courts were quietly opened without much fanfare to the public about three weeks ago, and is currently mostly frequented by the venue operator's badminton meet-up groups and personal friends.
Both halls were leased from Suntec by Teamsport Singapore, which operates and manages the space.
The only other 20-court badminton hall in the country at Singapore Expo made headlines when it opened in August for being the largest space for the sport in Singapore. Now, just three months later, there is a second venue at Suntec with 20 courts, and in a more central location, too.
This writer managed to book the courts at Suntec and play on them. As a regular recreational badminton player, it was a relief and a joy to be able to play badminton doubles again, which is currently allowed at five pax per court, as per recently relaxed COVID restrictions.
The courts are also easy to book: interested players can make bookings at the website teamsport.sg.
The booking charges are:
Monday - Friday (7am-6pm)
Peak periods (S$30/hr)
Monday - Friday (6pm-11pm)
Welcome space for badminton community
It's commonly known among the badminton fraternity that the booking of badminton courts in Singapore is an absolute chore, and having such a new venue would loosen the current bottleneck that causes the usual mad rush to book courts around Singapore.
The cost of booking courts at Teamsport Arena is rather steep, admittedly. They charge S$30 an hour for peak periods and S$15 per hour for off-peak periods, compared to the S$18 per hour for peak periods at Singapore Expo, its nearest competitor.
The higher fees are mostly due to the higher costs of running the facility in town and owing to the fact that the courts are fully air-conditioned and conveniently located in a central area, said Teamsport.
You will also be amply supplied with shuttles if you're willing to fork out another S$15 per person for a free flow of AERO shuttlecocks, which are manufactured by Teamsport and sold at the venue itself. One tube can cost from S$16 to S$30 and can be bought separately if you do not wish to purchase the free flow shuttle package.
There are currently no shower facilities available and no watercoolers at the halls; players should bring their own water bottles or may purchase a bottle of mineral water at the venue itself for S$1.
Plans for Teamsport Arena
Teamsport Singapore told Yahoo Life SEA that Teamsport Arena@Suntec is the first flagship facility by the company. It said the badminton hall was a partnership with Suntec Convention Centre to diversify the use of its facilities beyond just an event space.
Teamsport said that starting in December, Teamsport Arena will also begin to host tournaments and events.
Besides providing another playing venue for the public, Teamsport's vision is to become a centre for the best athletes to come together and train in a professional club setting, supported by an experienced international level coaching team.
Large sporting venues in Singapore with more than 10 badminton courts include Singapore Expo with 20 courts, the Singapore Sports Hub's OCBC Arena, which houses 13 courts, and the Bedok and Tampines Hubs.
The trend of indoor sports has been on the rise. National sports agency SportSG recently received more than 50 applications from private operators to join a pilot programme which allows up to 10 fully vaccinated people to play together, and six operators have been approved so far for sports like futsal, floorball and badminton.