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Oak View Group expands into the Middle East

The arena developer is partnering with the UAE's newest live entertainment powerhouse, Ethara

By Lisa Henderson on 14 Sep 2023

Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi

Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi

Oak View Group (OVG) is expanding into the Middle East through a joint venture with newly established event management and venue operator, Ethara.

Ethara launched earlier this year following the merger of state-owned promoter Flash Entertainment and Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management (ADMM).

The new company promotes events such as the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and Yasalam After-Race Concerts, and operates venues in the United Arab Emirates, such as Etihad Arena, Etihad Park, Yas Marina Circuit and Yas Conference Centre.

With offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Riyadh, Ethara will “provide detailed knowledge of the local markets, enabling OVG and Ethara to explore significant growth opportunities together across the Middle East”.

The launch of the partnership follows OVG’s recent acquisition of leading British venue caterer Rhubarb Hospitality Collection (RHC).

The new JV will see both the RHC and Ethara working closely together to improve the fan experience by delivering exceptional food, beverage, and hospitality services at live entertainment venues across the Middle East, including in the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

“The pace of change in the region makes [the Middle East] one of the most exciting places in the world to operate in right now”

“The Middle East is home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies and live entertainment markets, so our new offering in the region is a natural step for OVG to take,” says Tim Leiweke, CEO, OVG.

“The pace of change in the region, with major global events like the Dubai Expo and Qatar World Cup, makes it one of the most exciting places in the world to operate in right now. We are confident that working with our partner Ethara, OVG will emulate our success across North America and Europe in the Middle East.”

Saif Rashid Al Noaimi, CEO, Ethara, adds: “It is a proud moment to announce this joint venture with our new partner, OVG as we continue to expand our capabilities and impact across the region as the leading event management and venue operator in the Middle East. The significant growth in our region now includes regularly hosting the world’s biggest events. There is increasing demand for world-class venues with first-class hospitality to serve these events and provide unforgettable experiences for fans. This partnership with OVG will allow us to continue to innovate in this space and continue to bring exciting new events and opportunities to the market.”

Last week, OVG announced a partnership with Madison Square Garden Entertainment and its sister company Sphere Entertainment on a new entity, called Crown Properties Collection, which will manage their sports and entertainment brand partnerships.

OVG owns 11 major new arenas either open or under development including Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center, UBS Arena in Belmont Park, New York, and Moody Center in Austin, Texas, and Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs, California, as well as the Co-op Live development in Manchester, UK.


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