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SportBusiness establishes presence in evolving Mena region with Dubai office

(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

In announcing today (Thursday) the opening of an office in Dubai, SportBusiness Group is establishing a local presence in a constantly evolving region on the cusp of further expansion and that remains critical to the sports sector.

The new office will serve as the headquarters for the company’s operations in the Middle East and North Africa, not only driving market-specific news and feature coverage but embarking on bespoke projects and consulting support with federations, governing bodies, government organisations and universities in the region.

The establishment of SportBusiness’ fourth international hub, joining London, Singapore and the US, comes amid a swathe of growth opportunities in Dubai and the wider Mena region as countries begin to recover from the impact of Covid-19.

As a well-established host of international sports events, including golf’s Dubai Desert Classic, the Dubai Tennis Championships and rugby union’s Dubai Sevens, the city has in recent years also positioned itself as a reliable partner for international federation’s top-tier events. This status was further underlined by the shifting of events to Dubai amid the pandemic, most notably the 2021 Australian Open tennis qualifying tournament.

This spread of new and returning events in a city that this month began trialling the return of vaccinated fans to sports venues continues to attract private companies and service providers to help ensure their smooth delivery and commercialisation.

SportBusiness’ operation will offer a wide range of services to event hosts and rights-holders in Dubai and across the United Arab Emirates, a country that has also established itself as a highly-dependable host of top cricket events such as the Indian Premier League.

That expansion is mirrored by enlargement opportunities across the Mena region as Qatar prepares to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup and Saudi Arabia rolls out its Vision 2030 strategic plan. The two countries will play host to the Asian Games in 2030 and 2034 after the award of hosting rights to Doha and Riyadh, respectively.

Geopolitical dynamics across the Middle East continue to shift, and Saudi Arabia’s ending of its three-and-a-half year blockade of Qatar has raised hoped of positive knock-on effects for the sports industry. While there remain expansion opportunities, there are also sizeable challenges faced by rights-holders and broadcasters across the region.

Having provided in-depth expertise on the Mena media landscape across the last two decades, SportBusiness is well-positioned to inform the market as new players consider whether to establish a presence and challenge for rights.

The new market dynamics include the arrival of the Saudi Sports Company as a rights buyer, albeit only in the Saudi Kingdom thus far, as evidenced by its recent Asian Football Confederation agreement. A detailed Mena media rights report has been compiled by the SportBusiness Media team to coincide with our launch in the region and analyses such market movements.

As an extension of the local market development in Dubai and across the Middle East and North Africa, SportBusiness is also expanding at a pivotal moment in the region and is on hand to support local clients with our market-leading intelligence.