Dubai Sports City unveils strategy to draw international events
Dubai Sports City’s concerted commercial strategy will provide the UAE with an important asset in the competition for a share of the USD 50 billion global sports business market, according to senior executives at a major industry gathering.
With a potential reach of two billion spectators within a four-hour flight zone – and the broadcast network in place to reach a global audience – the UAE is geographically positioned to be a major hub for sporting events. However, a shortage of venues and the lack of high profile domestic teams have held back the growth of the industry in the past.
Speaking to an audience of sports professionals at the Dubai International Sports Conference 2007, a senior Dubai Sports City executive outlined the contribution that the development will make to enhance the UAE’s credentials in this market, with a particular focus on the importance of developing “flagship events”.
Malcolm Thorpe, Marketing Director, Sports Business, Dubai Sports City, explained: “Our commercial strategy looks to support one major event in six core sports – football, rugby, cricket, hockey, golf and tennis – that will run every year in Dubai.
“These headline events at Dubai Sports City will be supported by a programme of local events and the daily activities at each of our sports academies, creating a year-round calendar of events which will drive our profile higher on the sporting stage and demonstrate the strength of our facilities,” he added.
As well as its own annual programme of events, Dubai Sports City will also collaborate on bids for major international competitions in cooperation with other sporting bodies.
The group has plans in place to attract music shows, festivals and entertainment events, with its specially-designed 10,000 seat indoor multi-purpose stadium capable of easy conversion into a venue for concerts and public gatherings.
Successfully positioning Dubai Sports City as the venue of choice for major sporting and non-sporting public activities will have significant commercial value, particularly since the Group has a framework in place to effectively manage the rights for different events alongside the commercial rights for the whole of the Dubai Sports City development, including the stadia.
Research from IEG, a sports research agency, suggests that the global sponsorship market alone is worth approximately US$22 billion, and the whole market has the potential to more than double once broadcasting rights, event management and players’ fees are added into the mix.
“Event rights are a major source of revenue within the sports industry, incorporating sponsorship, ticketing, hospitality and broadcasting elements, but we will be looking to supplement these through the exploitation of stadium rights, such as naming rights, premium seat and corporate box rights. There will also be value to be driven through the commercial opportunities we can create around the daily inflows of people into Dubai Sports City, whether to watch, play, learn, live or work,” said Thorpe.
“The effective management of all these rights should ensure an equitable return for all our commercial partners and a positive experience for spectators and customers,” he concluded.
Executives attending the Conference expressed confidence that, upon completion, the world’s first integrated purpose-built sports city will position Dubai as a regional and ultimately international hub for sport.
“Dubai Sports City is not only a major development project – it is also an important asset for the region in attracting revenue and also contributing to a wider culture of involvement in sport. The feedback from our peers in the sports business industry has been overwhelmingly positive, both for the commercial infrastructure and the work that has gone into the legal and economic framework for hosting major sporting events at Dubai Sports City,” said Khalid Al Zarooni, President of Dubai Sports City.
Dubai International Sports Conference 2007 concludes on June 6.