Over the past few years, more and more people have begun travelling to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to attend premiere sporting events.
Because of successful events such as the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, and the AFC Asian Cup UAE, the UAE is quickly becoming one of the world’s leading hosts of sporting events.
From the top event organizer in Abu Dhabi, here are some of the most unforgettable sporting events in the UAE, as well as top tips for marketing your own sports event.
1. Mubadala World Tennis Championship
The Mubadala World Tennis Championship is one of the UAE’s most popular sporting events with people from all over the world coming to Abu Dhabi to witness the matches.
Since 2009, over 150,000 spectators have watched world-class performances from the sport’s top players such as five-time winner Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova and Serena and Venus Williams. Plus, 500+ million households watch the championship on TV.
In addition to watching the tennis, attendees can enjoy the activities of the Tennis Village, live music, and autograph signing and selfie sessions. In other words, there is plenty to keep the whole family occupied for three days.
2. Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship
The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship takes place each year at the Zayed Sports City Tennis Complex. Since 2013, this Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition has attracted hundreds of top athletes from all around the world. What’s more, over 175,000 fans have watched from more than 120 countries.
This championship is the season-ending event of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) and one of the most exciting competitions in the sport. One of the main reasons this sporting event continues to attract such a wide range of spectators is due to their multifaceted global, regional and local marketing campaign — plus, of course, the fact that the matches are always a thrill to watch.
3. FBMA International Show Jumping Cup
For seven years, the annual FBMA International Show Jumping Cup has been bringing excitement and entertainment to horse lovers in the UAE.
Showcasing highly skilled national talent, as well as competitors from over 19 countries, the cup instils pride in every member of the UAE community. It has grown to attract regional and international acclaim.
Open to the public; the FBMA International Show Jumping Cup allows attendees to enjoy three days of equestrian competitions. Additionally, guests can take part in a variety of interactive activities that are suitable for the whole family.
At the Equestrian Village, for example, you can take part in equestrian-inspired games and horse-rides, before enjoying live music, food trucks, and art displays.
In 2010, Flash Entertainment hosted the region’s first-ever UFC event: UFC 112. The hugely successful event took place in an open-air arena on Yas Island and was broadcasted globally around the world.
Four years later, Yas Island hosted UFC Fight Night Abu Dhabi, which was televised to 325 million households across 178 countries in 28 languages. Last September 2019, Yas Island hosted UFC 242. In July 2020, Abu Dhabi will host the inaugural UFC Fight Island, a four-event series with the backdrop of the Arabian Gulf.
Yas Island is a human-constructed island that can be reached from the mainland by car. Spread across about 10 square miles, Yas Island is also home to a water park, an amusement park, golf courses, and luxury hotels. In addition to these UFC events, Yas also has a global reputation for hosting Formula One auto racing at Yas Marina Circuit.
5. AFC Asian Cup UAE
In 2019, the AFC Asian Cup returned to the UAE after 23 years. Held once every four years, this premier international sporting event crowns the football champions of Asia. Twenty-four teams attended the UAE tournament — the highest number of participating nations in the cup’s history.
With 51 matches played across eight stadiums in four host cities and three Emirates, the AFC Asian Cup UAE became the largest sporting event ever hosted in the region.
How to Market an Unforgettable Sporting Event in the UAE
One of the elements that all of these sporting events have in common is that they were planned, marketed, and hosted by the Middle East’s leading entertainment company.
By involving professionals, these sporting events benefited from impeccable event management and execution. This, in turn, helped ensure that the word got out about the event and that it reached its target attendees. Additionally, by ensuring everything ran smoothly, attendees had the time of their lives and are more likely to continue to attend future events.
If you are looking for ways to market an unforgettable sporting event, here are a few tips:
- Design an event website that can operate as the central hub for promoting the event and interacting with your audience
- Host contests for tickets to boost attendance and get people talking about the event
- Release teasers such as behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with competitors
- Work with relevant influencers to spread the word about your event and to reach new audiences
- Post on local forums and social media groups that are relevant to the event
- Allow sponsors to run their own marketing strategies, just ensure that you are all sending a common message
- Leverage an event hashtag that can be used before, during, and after the event across all social media platforms. Remember, fans are usually thrilled to share their experiences on social media.
For those who want to host a memorable sporting event in the UAE, it is crucial that you reach out to an event company as they can handle all of your needs. For example, from content creation to ticketing and sales, project management to talent procurement, and logistics and operations to TV broadcasting and distribution, Flash Entertainment can do it all.
Have you ever been to an unforgettable sporting event in the UAE? If so, what was it? What is the next sports event you will be attending? What do you think are the essential components of marketing a similar event? How do you generally learn about the events you attend?
Let us know your thoughts and any relevant experiences in the comments below!