Dubai  has been named one of the ultimate sporting cities for 2012 by Sports Business International.
The UAE city was ranked 14th out of the 25 global cities that made the cut based on their history of hosting sports events, the highest ranking held by a Middle Eastern city, with the only other being Doha , ranked 17th.
In a study conducted over a six-year period, Dubai also racked up enough points to clinch the Best Sports City in the Africa/Middle East region based on criteria including facilities/venues, transport, accommodation, government support, security, legacy, public sports interest, quality of life, marketing and, new for 2012, use of social media.
The cities were lauded at a ceremony in Quebec City last month and awards presenter Kevin Roberts revealed to Sport360° what set Dubai apart from the others.
“It’s all to do with the sports infrastructure within a particular city and its track record of hosting events, and obviously Dubai is very prominent on the world scene with the Race to Dubai and tennis and The Sevens, all of which are world-class events which Dubai hosts so well," he said.
“One of the categories is to do with the sort of local enthusiasm for events and you know, I think with the events that I’ve just mentioned, you can see that there is a local passion for going to major international events, which was recognised in the judging criteria.
“I was over there (Dubai) in January to do a session at the Dubai International Sports Conference which was organised in part by the Dubai Sports Council, and they do seem to be wonderfully well focused on trying to make the most of the resources that Dubai has from the sports context,” Roberts added.
London struck gold ahead of the Olympic Games by being named the ‘SportBusiness Ultimate Sports City, 2012’, dethroning Melbourne, Australia, which has held the title since 2006.
Sydney ranked third, while New York climbed from 10th in 2010 to fourth this year closely followed by Manchester in 5th place.
Lead judge Rachel Church-Sanders said: “Hosting a major event such as the Olympic Games is not always a prerequisite for success. This year’s awards show smaller cities are catching up with their larger competitors quickly.
She added: "Learning from their city peers, they are establishing a major events strategy encompassing regular annual events in addition to the one-off crown jewel events which are key to becoming a SportBusiness Ultimate Sports City in the future.”