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Edwin Tong: Govt “moved fast and early” to secure Taylor Swift show in Singapore, declines to reveal amount spent

MCCY Minister Edwin Tong said Singapore government “moved fast and early” to secure Taylor Swift’s The Era tour in Singapore. Denying rumours of high taxpayer-funded grant costs, he withheld the exact amount, citing business confidentiality.



SINGAPORE: Edwin Tong,  Minister for Culture, Community, and Youth (MCCY) reiterated that the government “moved fast and early” to bring Taylor Swift’s The Era tour show to Singapore, added that the government was mindful of the holistic approach to securing the show.

Amid public scrutiny regarding the size of the taxpayer-funded grant to secure the show, Mr Tong reassured during the Parliament session on Monday (4 March) that the reported figures were inaccurate and not as high as rumoured.

However, he refrained from disclosing the exact amount, citing business confidentiality reasons.

Mr Tong was responding to questions filed by fellow MPs about the government’s role in securing the Taylor Swift concert, focusing on the estimated economic return and the overall economic value-add.

He recalled the overarching vision established when the government took over the Sports Hub in 2022, emphasizing goals such as positioning Singapore and the Sports Hub as a premier sports and entertainment destination in the region, fostering a strong connection between Singaporeans and the Sports Hub, and maximizing synergies in the broader Kallang Live precinct.

Highlighting the role of Kallang Alive Sport Management (KASM), the entity operating the Sports Hub, Mr Tong underscored that it aimed to go beyond being just a venue for hire.

KASM actively identifies and creates content and programs to bring to Singapore, contributing to a notable 30 per cent increase in sports, entertainment, community, and lifestyle events since the government takeover.

Addressing the specifics of securing the Taylor Swift concert, Mr Tong noted that the government “moved swiftly and early” to secure the show and emphasized the recognition of a sizable Swifties fan base in Singapore and the broader region.

He added that the government’s eagerness was rooted in delivering the concert experience directly to this fan base at the Sports Hub.

He elaborated further, stating that the idea of staging marquee events at the Sports Hub was conceived even before the government takeover in December 2022.

In February 2023, he and his colleagues went to the US to study the sports and entertainment industry.

“When the opportunity to discuss holding a Taylor Swift concert in Singapore came up, we brought it immediately and subsequently discussed it in detail and thereafter reached an agreement for Singapore to be one of Taylor Swift’s tour stops.”

Mr Tong went on to highlight that the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) independently assessed the potential benefits of bringing the concert to Singapore.

Subsequently, STB offered a grant to the concert promoter after carefully weighing the anticipated benefits for Singapore.

Minister Edwin Tong refutes high spending claims on Taylor Swift’s Singapore concerts

Addressing speculation about the grant’s size, Mr Tong clarified that the reported figures were inaccurate and not as high as rumoured.

However, he refrained from disclosing the exact amount due to business confidentiality reasons.

“I can assure members of the house that economic benefits to Singapore are assessed to be significant and outweigh the size of the grant.”

In response to a supplementary question from Ms Usha Chandradas, a nominated MP, Mr Tong confirmed the existence of a confidentiality agreement between the Singapore government over the exclusive arrangement and Taylor Swift’s team as part of the concert deal.

Compared with other cities hosting Taylor Swift concerts, Mr Tong mentioned the reported increase in economic activity arising from such events.

“The direct economic benefits include, for instance, additional tourist arrivals, additional spending on tickets on flights, hotel stays, as well as entertainment retail, and dining in Singapore.”

While the Singapore show had not concluded, he acknowledged that market analysts estimated a dollar range for the economic upside

Mr Tong emphasized the importance of Singapore’s strategic location, quality infrastructure, good amenities, safety efficiency, and diverse cultural offerings as reasons why world-class artists choose to host large-scale concerts in the city.

“In addition beyond the tourism and economic benefits, being able to host A-list artists such as Taylor Swift, we also help position Singapore as a cultural hub in Southeast Asia capable of hosting a range of different arts music and culture events.”

MP Gerald Giam queries use of taxpayer-funded grants for Taylor Swift shows in Singapore

Workers’ Party Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC, Mr Gerald Giam, questioned the rationale behind providing taxpayer-funded grants to secure Taylor Swift concerts, especially considering Singapore’s status as an inherently appealing destination for marquee events.

Additionally, he inquired whether the government negotiated to make Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” the exclusive Southeast Asian stop, expressing concern about potential perceptions by neighbouring countries.

In response, Minister Tong defended the decision-making process, highlighting the multifaceted considerations involved.

“The real question is this: you have to make your calculations and work out what’s in Singapore in Singaporean’s best interest.”

“If you don’t have a certain economy of scale to play in Singapore over X number of nights for a period of time, you won’t be able to reap the economies of scale, then this could be a very different balance to the considerations.”

He cautioned that the concert might still occur in Singapore, but potentially for a reduced number of nights—possibly far fewer—or it might not take place in Singapore at all if the factors mentioned earlier are not duly considered.

He said the government considered the past tour history and the material considerations for discussing the duration and terms of staying in Singapore with Taylor Swift’s team.

He also mentioned the importance of judging the demand in the local market and how these considerations played a role in deciding how to approach the negotiation and structure the event.

However, Mr Tong did not respond to Mr Giam’s inquiry about his perspective on the possibility of other countries perceiving Singapore’s pursuit of exclusivity as being mean.

Mr Tong counters assertions made by Thai Prime Minister in recent CNA interview

In a recent interview with Channel NewsAsia (CNA), Mr Tong challenged claims of high spending, refuting earlier statements by Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

Diverging from assertions that Singapore spent up to US$3 million per concert, Tong stated, “The numbers that you see online – it is nowhere as high as what is being speculated.”

According to a report by the Bangkok Post, Srettha alleged that Singapore had secured exclusive rights for Taylor Swift to perform at the renowned National Stadium in the city-state, effectively shutting out other Southeast Asian nations from hosting the pop sensation.

According to Srettha, AEG informed him that the Singapore government financially supported Taylor Swift’s concerts, offering US$2 million to 3 million per show in exchange to perform solely in Singapore.

CNA’s report suggests that the actual amount Singapore committed to securing Swift’s six shows falls significantly lower, between US$2 million to US$3 million in total, countering the higher figures previously circulated.

“What I’ll say is this: It’s not just about a grant or a deal, but the overall package,” he said, implying that the decision to host Swift was part of a larger strategy, though specifics of this strategy and its outcomes remain under discussion.

The minister’s comments come amid scrutiny over the value and transparency of the deals made to attract international stars to Singapore. While Swift’s six concerts have sold out, attracting over 300,000 fans, questions linger about the true cost to Singapore’s taxpayers and the direct benefits of hosting such events.

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Recall the YOG – the pappies also moved fast and early, never mind ultimately overspending by 280m. After the event, even IOC mentioned (with a laugh) that SG had overspend, revealing the next bidder (Moscow) was only about 100m. VB, then in-charge of the event, even said that if he had to spend another 100-150m to “make the event a success”, he would have throw in that additional cash. His grandfather’s money, hor?

Given the deliriously doped~up feedback from the otherwise silent many, and no hysteria is complete, without the sense of patriotism that this has invoked, .., about TS opting for the red dot because of blah, blah, bloody blah !!!

All bloody positive and good news for this regime and TongTong !!!

Had best go and secure TS to pop into good ‘ol Sillypore, … every other month then !!!

Is the PAP using taxpayers’ monies to woo the new voters who cross 21years by using Taylor Swift?

My view to the whole Taylor Swift tour is to see it as simply a business opportunity. 1. Was a confidential agreement signed? If yes, it explains why intimate details are not forthcoming 2. Should the Singapore team not offer a grant to entice the tour to drop by Singapore? I say, if it helps in the negotiations, why not? 3. Should an exclusive Singapore-only stop be part of the negotiations? Again, if it helps secure such an agreement and let Singapore gain an advantage, why not? 4. Should Edwin Tong and team be “more gentlemanly” and take other countries’… Read more »

Keppel O&M agreed in 2017 to pay $422 million to end a U.S. probe into illegal payments to officials of Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA. Keppel’s US unit pleaded guilty while the Singapore-based parent entered into a deferred-prosecution agreement with the US government.

Ms Swift ahould ask More .

The way the gov plan for taylor is as if she is the daughter in law of the lee dynasty

Frankly if Sheeps trust the PAP to be wise and careful, one shd have no second thoughts on the PAP raiding Reserves BUT DO NOT tell the Opposition THEY RAID RESERVES AND SPENT future money, when the PAP has WASHED AWAY every cent of Sheeps money at the SCAVENGER dogs.

And THEY can spend $100 Millions of OUR MONEY – BUT where the returns Gone, To whose pockets? Has the POOR benefit WHEN for a few EXTRA cents Vivian Bala RAISED his BLOODY ANGER against an UNFOUNDED wish the poor wants to eat in posh places.

Hmmm … let’s see. $99 million for Ho Ching’s “performance” at Temasick vs a maximum of US$18 million for Taylor Swift six concerts. I think we got a much Much MUCH better deal here. Edwin Tong should be congratulated for his ministry’s coup in snagging exclusivity for Taylor Swifties show here.

If we are to take the hosting of the Youth Olympics as a yardstick, then it is probably in the ballpark of $380 million?

No amount of economic benefit stemming from an illegal activity can ever be justified. I consider the money given to induce Taylor Swift to hold concerts only in Singapore as a bribe. It is now clear that Singapore was chosen not on merit, but on financial inducements.

Notice how Edwin Tong keeps focussing on the benefits to distract everyone. The billions of dollars brought into Singapore by making us a scam or drugs hub can also be justified, using Edwin Tong’s logic.

Anything and everything is state secret with the PAP camp.

Once again the haughty PAP declines to reveal expenditure using Taxpayers’ monies. So we will need another scandal like Iswaran before we get to know. This is not only about revenue but the values we are teaching our children. There are also many entertainers why pay for six shows for this one entertainer?

Liars are afraid to be transparent and steadfastly so bcz once adoption of transparency they failed morally, and have to bury their faces inside piles of shit when confronted. Therefore has to be concealed and concealed NO MATTER WHAT.


Where their PERMISSIONS from FOR NON DISCLOSURES. Voters HAVE TO BEWARE 100 X more next GE.