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Dubai offers promoters sponsorship support with new scheme

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing has announced a sponsorship scheme for promoters in a bid to grow the emirate’s live events sector.

The new Leisure Events Sponsorship Scheme aims to “empower leisure event organisers with additional incentivisation opportunities in the form of event sponsorship”, according to a statement from Dubai Tourism. All organisers of ticketed events that are open to the public are eligible for assistance.

The programme aims to boost the already growing local live entertainment market, which recorded a year-on-year increase of more than 100,000 ticket sales and 25 additional events in first quarter of 2019.

The launch of the scheme precedes the opening this summer of AEG’s new Coca-Cola (formerly Dubai) Arena, whose 17,000 seats will make it the largest indoor entertainment venue in the region.

Local promoter 117 Live also operates a 25,000-capacity outdoor arena, 117 Live Arena (formerly Autism Rocks Arena), at Dubai Outlet Mall, which opened in 2016.

Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of Dubai Tourism, says: “The sponsorship scheme forms part of our commitment to retain the city’s status as a leading global event destination and has been designed to build on this momentum and act as a catalyst for the local events industry.

“The sponsorship scheme forms part of our commitment to retain the city’s status as a leading global event destination”

“This has been further fuelled by our cross-industry public and private sector partnerships, which serve as a crucial component in helping us identify and pursue opportunities to further empower local event organisers as we set the stage to welcome audiences from around the world.”

The sponsorship scheme will take effect for events held from 1 May 2019.

James Craven, president of Live Nation Middle East, welcomes the launch of the programme. “We are experiencing an exciting time of growth in Dubai’s events industry as Dubai continues to showcase its strength as a world-class leisure destination,” he comments. “This not only fuels our ongoing commitment to deliver the best family experiences in the region but also opens up new opportunities to continue strengthening our relationship with the wider sector.

“We have enjoyed great success with events from Dave Chappelle and George Ezra to the recent Wasla alternative Arabic music festival. The Dubai Tourism Leisure Events Sponsorship Scheme initiative marks a significant milestone in the government’s support in nurturing the city’s thriving events industry, underscoring Dubai’s place on the international live entertainment map.”

Interested concert promoters and other events organisers can apply for sponsorship on the Visit Dubai website.


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Thomas Ovesen to join AEG as VP of new Dubai Arena

Veteran Dubai-based concert promoter Thomas Ovesen is to join AEG Ogden as vice-president of programming for its new Dubai Arena.

Ovesen – who left Done Events for the newly formed 117 Live in December 2015 – will depart the company in early 2018 to head up programming for the new venue, managed by AEG on behalf of state-owned holding company Meraas and now set to open in 2019. At 117 Live, Ovesen oversaw the opening of 117 Live’s 20,000-cap. greenfield Autism Rocks Arena, also in Dubai.

It is the first hire for new Dubai Arena GM Guy Ngata, who joined the project in August, and marks a similar return to AEG for Ovesen, who previously headed up AEG Live in the Middle East.

“His understanding of the region and the local live entertainment scene and its players will be vital”

Ovesen (pictured) tells IQ his focus at the new venue will be on “making sure it has a great line-up, and hopefully also work with [117 Live] on some of their future events to be staged there”.

“Thomas oversaw the launch of the new Autism Rocks Arena and an impressive events calendar that featured, among others, Nicki Minaj, Gabriel Iglesias, Elton John, Bryan Adams, Guns N’ Roses, Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran,” says AEG Ogden CEO Harvey Lister, commenting on the appointment. “It’s quality, international-standard acts such as those, plus more, that we’re looking to bring to Dubai Arena.

“His understanding of the region and the local live entertainment scene and its players will be vital to Guy and his management team, as they plan an event schedule second to none anywhere ahead of the Arena’s opening in 2019.”


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First Zayn solo show set for Autism Rocks Arena

Ex-One Direction singer Zayn Malik will play his first concert as a solo artist on 7 October at 117 Live’s new Dubai concert venue, the Autism Rocks Arena.

Veteran promoter Thomas Ovesen, who joined new venture 117 Live from Done Events in December, tells Gulf News he is confident of selling every ticket in the previously unnamed 20,000-capacity greenfield arena. “Were excited that […] we’re the only show in the region with Zayn,” he adds.

The temporary greenfield site will be replaced by a permanent amphitheatre at the Dubai Outlet Mall in spring 2017. The new venue will feature boxes, suites and viewing terraces and is part of a plan by 117 Live owner Al Ahli Holding Group (AAHG) to create a “new regional live entertainment hub”. AAGH, a Dubai-headquartered international conglomerate which employs 9,000 people, also owns the Dubai Outlet Mall.

Malik (pictured), known mononymously as Zayn, hit headlines last week after being racially abused by American rapper Azealia Banks for allegedly plagiarising one of her music videos.

Malik’s former band, One Direction, had the second-highest-grossing tour of 2015.