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Mark Jan Kar appointed new GM of Coca-Cola Arena

Mark Jan Kar has been promoted to general manager of Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena following the recent resignation of arena CEO Guy Ngata.

Kar, who is currently the arena’s director of commercial and live, will assume the role on 20 June following the departure of Ngata, who is returning to his home country of New Zealand.

Harvey Lister, chairman and chief executive of arena operator ASM Global Apac, says: “Guy’s leadership and management of the arena is demonstrated by Coca-Cola Arena Dubai being named venue of the year at the Middle East Event Awards last month. Guy will be returning to Auckland to join his family for an extended period and we wish him well in his future endeavours.”

“Mark’s understanding and knowledge of the many wonderful and unique characteristics of the destination will be invaluable”

Welcoming Kar, Lister continues: “We are committed to and optimistic about the future. As a long-time resident of Dubai, Mark’s understanding and knowledge of the many wonderful and unique characteristics of the destination will be invaluable, and he will be fully supported by the whole ASM Global team as we grow content for the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf region generally.”

With a capacity of 17,000, Coca-Cola Arena is the biggest indoor arena in Dubai. The venue opened in 2019 but has, in common with other entertainment venues globally, spent much of the past year with its doors shut, though it managed to reopen for socially distanced shows at the tail end of last year.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity afforded to me by ASM Global APAC and [venue owner] Dubai Holding,” says Kar. “As an executive team we are committed along with our stakeholders to the return of live in the city of Dubai and truly excited for what the future holds.”

 


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Dubai “go-to” tour destination with arena success

Dubai’s 17,000-capacity Coca-Cola Arena, which opened its doors three months ago, has already hosted shows by Maroon 5, Westlife, the 1975 and Alicia Keys, playing a key role in placing the United Arab Emirates on the international touring map.

The multipurpose arena was born as part of a collaboration between Dubai-based developer Meraas and AEG’s Asian/ Australasian venues arm, AEG Ogden.

The largest venue of its kind in the region, Meraas and AEG Ogden hope the arena will become the premier destination in the Middle East’s burgeoning live events scene.

The arena is fully enclosed and climate controlled, transforming Dubai from a “winter-only” touring destination into a year-round option for promoters. Floor space measuring 3,870 square metres and a variety of seating and stage configurations allow for a range of event types.

“Dubai is already a major entertainment hub for the entire region and the opening of Coca-Cola Arena has helped to further establish the city as the go-to destination for acts visiting the Middle East as part of global tour schedules,” comments AEG Ogden’s chief executive of Coca-Cola Arena, Guy Ngata.

“Dubai is already a major entertainment hub for the entire region and the opening of Coca-Cola Arena has helped to further establish the city as the go-to destination for acts visiting the Middle East”

“Meraas has shown a great vision to expand Dubai’s live entertainment offering and in doing so has an asset that will become one of the world’s great live venues.

“Together with Coca-Cola and all of our partners and stakeholders, there is a real passion in establishing the venue as the perfect fit for international touring artists, productions, sporting activity and shows of all genres,” adds Ngata.

Coca-Cola announced a ten-year naming-rights agreement with AEG Ogden in April, in what the soft drinks giant deemed a “milestone deal”. The arena also counts Indian ticketing platform BookMyShow among its partners, signifying the first global arena deal for the company.

“Despite only being open for a few months, Coca-Cola Arena is already firmly established as one of the city’s biggest attractions,” continues Ngata. “We look forward to hosting even more great live acts and events as we develop and expand the events industry in the UAE to even greater levels of success.”

Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena opened on 6 June, with a performance by Canadian comedian Russell Peters, before Maroon 5 made the arena’s musical debut on 14 June. A list of upcoming events can be found here.

 


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Thomas Ovesen exits Dubai Arena to go independent

After a year as VP of programming for the soon-to-open Dubai Arena, and COO of its operator, AEG Ogden, Thomas Ovesen is exiting the company to return to promoting independently.

Ovesen joined the Dubai Arena project at the start of 2018 from local promoter 117 Live. The arena’s CEO, Guy Ngata, says Ovesen “has been a key part of the journey so far as we begin the countdown to opening the arena in 2019”.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Thomas on behalf of our team,” he adds. “We look forward to working with Thomas in the near future, which is something both parties are excited about.”

“With the Dubai Arena getting ready to open with what will be an amazing calendar of events, now is as great a time as ever for me to return to being a dedicated independent buyer and promoter,” comments Ovesen.

“We look forward to working with Thomas in the near future, which is something both parties are excited about”

“I wish my fantastic colleagues all the best and thank AEG Ogden for the opportunity with Dubai Arena. I look forward to many future collaborations.”

Owned by state-backed holding company Meraas and managed by AEG’s local operation, AEG Ogden, the 17,000-seat Dubai Arena (originally announced as having a capacity of 20,000) will “put Dubai on the international entertainment touring circuit and make a major contribution to the Emirate’s continued development as a major tourism destination”, said AEG Ogden’s CEO, Harvey Lister, at its launch in 2016.

The venue will open later this year.

 


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Eden Park seeking new CEO as Ngata departs for Dubai

Guy Ngata, chief executive of New Zealand’s largest stadium, Eden Park (50,000-cap.), is to step down in November to become GM of the new Dubai Arena.

It marks a return to AEG Ogden for New Zealander Ngata (pictured), who joined Eden Park from AEG’s Allphones Arena (now Qudos Bank Arena) in Sydney in September 2015.

Brisbane-based AEG Ogden, which manages venues in the Asia-Pacific region, was appointed operator of the 20,000-capacity Dubai Arena last November. AEG says the new arena will become “go-to” venue for concerts, sports and other live entertainment in the Middle East when it opens next year.

“Guy has been an outstanding chief executive”

“Guy leaves on a high, hard on the heels of the hugely successful DHL New Zealand Lions Series, which highlighted the truly unique live sport experience that only Eden Park can offer,” says Doug McKay, chairman of Eden Park Trust, which manages the stadium.

“Eden Park has benefitted from Guy’s international venue management experience. He has been an outstanding chief executive.”

Eden Park is seeking a new CEO, and will “commence a global search for someone to take the helm and guide the stadium into the future”, adds McKay.

 


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