The viewing of and participation in sport across the Middle East has soared in recent years. Thanks to investment in a broad range of sports. The attitude to not only the sport itself, but the commercial opportunities that it brings has changed.
The growth of ‘Sport Culture’ in countries such as India and China, has filtered across to the Middle East. This has been helped largely, by the number of expatriates who reside in the region.
The sport of cricket, the most watched and played sport across the sub-continent, has brought with it many commercial opportunities across the Middle East such is the global audience that events such as the Indian Premier League generate.
Football continues to drive larger global audiences across the Middle East and has become a second religion to many. The English Premier League and Spain’s La Liga dominate the popularity stakes thanks to Etihad (owners of Manchester City) and Emirates’ sponsorships of Arsenal FC as well as arguably the biggest global sporting brand – Real Madrid.
2022 sees the FIFA World Cup held in the region for the first time, with many predicting many GCC countries to expect a surge to their economy as tourists from across the globe set to descend on the region.
Whilst the most popular events are held overseas, thanks to TV and the rise in technology, more and more have the ability to view this than ever before. Merchandise of top sporting teams continues to be sold across the region whilst the hospitality industry benefits from an increase in footfall thanks to featuring the world’s biggest events on the big screen.
Sport in the Middle East is growing rapidly and is here to stay.