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Abu Dhabi boxes clever over Fury v Wilder rematch speculation

Speculation has increased that the potential third match-up between heavyweight giants Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder could be held in the Middle East, with commentators looking at Riyadh or even Abu Dhabi.

Saeed Al Saeed, marketing director at DCT Abu Dhabi, would not be drawn on the potential bout being held in the UAE capital, but said the emirate is keen to explore possibilities surrounding combat sports.

The third instalment of the Wilder v Fury trilogy was expected to take place on December 19 in Las Vegas, although that has been thrown into doubt with the real possibility that fans won’t be allowed to attend.

Fury’s UK-based promoter Frank Warren suggested last week that the fight could be switched to a venue outside of the UK and US.

He told Good Morning Britain: “Wilder and Fury was the highest-grossing fight to ever take place in Vegas. We just can’t lose that gate. It’s a huge amount of money. We need the gate.

“Or we come up with a scenario where there is a huge site fee from a territory to take it, and we use it to promote their country.

“We are looking at those situations.”

His comments had prompted speculation that the fight could be brought to the Middle East – Saudi Arabia previously hosted fights involving British boxers Anthony Joshua, Amir Khan and George Groves.

Al Saeed said: “There is nothing that’s confirmed and nothing that has been signed.

“What I can say is, after the success of Fight Island, we are looking at combat sports more seriously. Dana Whyte (UFC president) said it himself, Abu Dhabi can become the fight capital of the world. I think that just gave us the premise to look at the combat sport element as something that we should be focusing on.”

Abu Dhabi is currently hosting the sequel to Fight Island 1 – Return to UFC Fight Island – on Yas Island, which is running through to October 245.

It comes following the success of the inaugural event back in July, which saw the UFC Fight Island Safe Zone implemented across all event-related areas as part of strict health and safety measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Al Saeed said the original event had made the world sit up and take notice.

“After Fight Island’s success, word got out to sporting organisers that Abu Dhabi is ready, is willing and is capable to deliver world class events at the highest level,” he said.

“We already have some organisations that have reached out after Fight Island, saying the pandemic is really hitting our region of the world, is it possible to talk about bringing our sport, even if it’s just one iteration or one round, to Abu Dhabi. I think that, from a longevity, from a sustainability point of view for sports tourism for Abu Dhabi is immense.”

Saeed Al Saeed, marketing director at DCT Abu Dhabi

The five-event Return to UFC Fight Island schedule marks the first time that two consecutive UFC numbered pay-per-view events have been held in the same city outside of Las Vegas.

In what promises to be a thrilling finale, the event will close with UFC254, when fan favourite Khabib Nurmagomedov will return to the octagon for the first time since defeating the USA’s Dustin Poirier via third-round submission at UFC242 during last September’s inaugural Abu Dhabi Showdown Week.

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Why the time is right for UAE women to start their own businesses

The decree stipulating equal pay for men and women, recently issued by UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, shows how far businesswomen in the region have come and how far they still have to go.

Speaking to Arabian Business in an interview before the launch of SheLeads accelerator program, Nadine Halabi, business development manager at Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) says more support and collaboration are needed among women themselves to push them up the career ladder and into leadership positions.

AB: What do you think are unique challenges for women entrepreneurs?

NH: Challenges don’t have any gender. If it’s a challenge in the business world, it applies for a women-led business or a male-led one. The UAE in general is one of the best places in the world to do business regardless of your gender because the leadership of the UAE government does not judge anyone based on gender but their capabilities.

But I feel the biggest challenge for women is the fact they do not support each other enough. I feel that if we women stuck together more, we would have a better effect on each other.

Women are phenomenal: they are fighters, they are survivors, creative, multitaskers, and they can do a lot of things, all in one package. So can you imagine the impact if more than one woman came together? I think it would be more resourceful, more productive, more efficient, more everything.

AB: How has the landscape for female entrepreneurship in the UAE evolved over the past ten years?

NH: It all happened out of necessity kind of. Women realised they were spending so much time in their corporate jobs away from their homes and families and getting involved in more of a mundane routine life. They worked for so long in these companies, and they had the experience, so they felt ready to actually move out of that and set up their own business.

The problem was that 10 years ago there weren’t that many female entrepreneurs because there were barriers and challenges. To begin with, they did not have enough self-confidence to actually leave the workplace and venture into their own business.

Second of all, they did not have access to information on how to start their own business and third, there wasn’t enough access to capital, which is the most important thing if you want to set up a business.

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AB: What were the solutions to these challenges?

NH: The confidence is linked to having a solid skillset and so platforms like ours started to support these budding entrepreneurs by providing workshops, seminars and trainings related to how to set up a business.

Access to information could also be resolved through councils and business communities. We started to see a lot of multi-nationals set up their women-only networks where they really invested a lot of time and knowledge in their women employees. Banks also created programs that were specifically tailored to women in business.

All three components started to show more and it drove women to venture into entrepreneurship and setting up their own business. We started to see a gradual increase and then a surge in the number of women leaving the workforce to set up their own business. And by setting up their own business, they had a little more time to better manage their work-life balance.

AB: In what ways is DBWC supporting businesswomen in the UAE to reach leadership positions?

NH: We do a lot of sessions, now we call them webinars, around leadership. Leadership should be the language of inclusivity. If we include each other more, if we mentor each other and help train each other, then it would definitely help push women up the career ladder.

You see that in institutions where women are in leadership positions and do that with their team, that’s where you find the best results.

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AB: How far are we in the UAE from it being normal for women to be in senior positions instead of something celebrated and rare?

NH: I think in order for us in the UAE to achieve that, I think there should be less of a call for women-only events and seminars and instead having them be for both men and women. This is something we started to incorporate at the DBWC many years ago where we started opening up a lot of our big conferences to a male and female audience.

We believe we can’t change society by focusing on 50 percent of it so why eliminate the men when they are counterparts? For more women to be introduced on boards and in senior management positions, you need to also involve the men in these organisations and shift the mind-set of the men as well. So it has to be a collaborative process and only then will we start seeing more of an impact.

AB: In what ways has coronavirus impacted the way you work in DBWC and female entrepreneurs in general?

NH: For the Dubai business women council, it impacted us in the sense that 90 percent of our activities were done face to face but with COVID 19 all of that moved into the digital space. In the beginning, it was a little bit of a challenge because we were all getting into something that we are not accustomed to: the Zoom calls, the Microsoft team calls, speaking to a screen rather than being physically in contact with the business world, etc.

But we are creatures of habit and so we got accustomed to the new norm. I think it is the same for everyone. But at the same time, it managed to bring out the creative element in a lot of us because you have to survive as a business owner and as an entrepreneur.

It is amazing to see that so many women in our council chose to find creative ways to enhance their businesses and keep them afloat. It did not stop us, it did not stop them and it goes to show you that at the end of the day, women are amazing warriors.

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AB: Can you give me some examples of how these women adapted to the Covid situation?

NH: Shifting from a physical business to a digital one, for example. We did have a couple of our members telling us that at the beginning they were struggling but later on, they found a way to navigate the digital space. They shifted things within their business model that would actually go in line with the current situation and so by tweaking their business plan a little bit, they did manage to create more sales.

SheLeads accelerator program

SheLeads is an accelerator program developed by Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) in partnership with the Creative Zone, a business setup advisory firm in the UAE. Originally designed to take place in person, SheLeads moved to the digital sphere because of coronavirus and was launched on September 22.

The program consists of 12 modules, each given by an expert in their field, which takes the 100 women participants in all phases of setting up and sustaining a start-up. Topics covered include legal issues, developing a business model, hiring, and accounting.

SheLeads is targeted towards participants who want to scale up an existing business or start a new one. Participants are all 21 and above and are residents of the UAE. Halabi says the response was immediately positive with registration filling up in just three days.

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Talent firms intensify CEO hunt in the UAE amid coronavirus shake-up

Global talent search firms are reporting a substantial increase in mandates for CEOs and chief experience officers (CXOs) hiring in the UAE amid the rush by corporate majors and family offices to adapt to the new marketplace.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to change the business landscape in the Gulf, a growing churn is being seen in the corner offices of companies across many sectors in the UAE and the wider region.

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“We are currently working on about six CEO search mandates in the region, apart from other CXO search mandates,” Amarjeet Dutta, partner at global search firm EMA Partners – Dubai, told Arabian Business.

“As a global search firm, we at EMA Partners are amidst an interesting journey (currently) with both multinationals and local family offices to re-calibrate CXO level leadership muscle across key functions,” Dutta added.

Senior executives at other search firms, who wished not to be identified or to name their firms because of “non-disclosure” issues, also confirmed to Arabian Business that they were also seeing a jump in requests for hiring at top levels in the GCC region.

What is fuelling the sudden uptick in requirements for talents at leadership roles?

Dutta elaborated: “Covid-19 has actually enabled many progressive organisations to use this period to look inwards and restructure functions/businesses and also have a re-look at the leadership talent pool and come up with creative designs to optimise business impact.

Amarjeet Dutta, partner at global search firm EMA Partners – Dubai

“The pandemic has also accentuated digital transformation activities of companies and family offices across the region.”

Dutta said most companies are on a mission to build leaner and more effective organisations and sustainable businesses with the right leaders in key roles and Covid has been a great accelerator on this endeavour.

“New or higher cost of getting new leaders has not been a concern for most organisations,” he said.

Among the industries that are seeing increased demand for top level hiring are healthcare and life sciences, edutech and essential sectors such as FMCG and consumer technology.

Demand for CEOs with high EQs

Dutta also revealed the increasing preference for “people with high emotional quotient (EQ)” to fill the top roles in the post-pandemic period.

“The quality of CXOs that we would hire before the pandemic and now has definitely seen a shift in the needle across sectors. While, when hiring a CXO, our focus has always been slightly tilted towards assessing her/his EQ over just the candidate’s proven functional expertise. The pandemic has put in unprecedented and increased focus on that aspect,” he pointed out.

Dutta also said the pandemic has helped many organisations who have CEOs/leaders with high EQ and empathy to perform relatively well.

Salaries are not the main reason employees change jobs in the GCC

Employees are more influenced by other factors, according to a report by recruitment giant Hays

“Beyond 25 years of proven experience, it’s difficult for a CEO to have any challenge on aspects of his IQ part and functional expertise.

“However while working for large family offices, government entities, large and complex organizations and multinationals, the CEO’s ability to protect shareholder value, manage stakeholder and board expectations, learning the art of ‘agreeing to disagree’ and still drive the business growth objective, not being the ‘Yes Man’ but building trust among stakeholders, her/his teams and protecting customer confidence become of paramount importance, especially more now in times of uncertainties,” Dutta said.

Industry experts said the instances of several business leaders voluntarily leaving or opting for postings mainly in Western countries in the wake of the pandemic may have also played a role in the Middle East companies opting for leaders with more grit for future hiring.

More leadership role hiring from GCC

Of late, there has been an increased preference for hiring from within the GCC area for leadership and senior roles, Dutta told Arabian Business.

“About a good 50-60 percent of the leadership talent resides within the GCC today. There is a segment of high potential talent within the GCC and Africa as well, who are waiting to serve a solid purpose and solve complex organisational problems,” he revealed.

“Of course for key technology organisations or tech platforms at leadership roles, we continue to tap into India, Silicon Valley and parts of Europe,” he said.

Five things we learned

  1. Mandates for CEO and CXO searches for companies and family offices in GCC see substantial increase
  2. Increasingly, the focus shifts to emotional quotient from IQ for CEO/CXO candidates
  3. Healthcare and life sciences, Edutech, essential sectors such as FMCG and consumer technology among the industries that are is seeing increased demand for top level hiring
  4. Covid pandemic-hit companies and organisations are rushing to carry out internal restructuring
  5. Search firms are looking to hire more senior level talents from within the Gulf region
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Biggest independent oil trader sees price gains unlikely in 2020

Crude prices will have little room to rise in the next quarter because the recovery in global demand is slowing due to new coronavirus-related restrictions on the economy, according to Vitol Group executive committee member Chris Bake.

“The conventional wisdom going into the fourth quarter was that things were going to improve,” Bake said on a conference call hosted by Dubai consultant Gulf Intelligence. “It doesn’t feel like we have a huge catalyst”, and demand is more “uncertain”, he said. Vitol is the world’s biggest independent oil trader.

Bake’s comments appear more bearish than those the company’s chief executive officer made 11 days ago.

Renewed curbs on travel and social gatherings across Europe, along with the tapering of state support packages for companies, are having a chilling effect on demand for crude, just as the OPEC+ group of producers begins to consider the next easing of its self-imposed limits on output.

Oil prices fell last week, with both Brent and US crude holding above $40 a barrel. After the coronavirus pandemic crushed demand earlier this year, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and partners including Russia agreed in April to cut production, sparking a market revival. Benchmark Brent, however, is still down about 36 percent in 2020.

The global oil-refining market is “incredibly squeezed”, with large stockpiles outweighing weak demand, Bake said. Plans for additional capacity in coming months may force older refineries out of the market, he said.

China, which helped spur the recovery in energy demand, may not be strong enough on its own to drive global economic growth, Christof Ruehl, a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, said on the same conference call.

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Safety key as Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector rebuilds post-coronavirus

Leading figures from the tourism industry in Abu Dhabi have stressed the importance of safety measures among all stakeholders as the emirate prepares to welcome back visitors following the coronavirus-enforced period of lockdown.

Speaking on World Tourism Day, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT-Abu Dhabi) admitted it had been a “challenging year” for the sector as a result of the global pandemic.

He said: “We have worked relentlessly alongside other government entities to launch a number of initiatives to support the tourism sector during this period and elevate the level of trust amongst our consumers to position Abu Dhabi as one of the safest destinations in the world.

“And today, as we prepare to welcome visitors once again, we are doubling our efforts in ensuring the safety of our destinations to guarantee our guests a safe and unforgettable experience.”

On Thursday it was announced by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship that entry permits into the UAE were once again being issued after being stopped due to Covid-19.

Latest figures from the central bank had shown a deeper than estimated contraction because of disruptions incurred by coronavirus.

Gross domestic product will shrink 5.2 percent in 2020, compared with a previous forecast for a decline of 3.6 percent, the central bank said in its quarterly review.

Saood Al Hosani, undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi said: “The biggest challenge for us was to support and revitalise the tourism sector in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, while also ensuring the health and safety of residents and visitors.

“Abu Dhabi has been recognised and highly praised for its efficient, persistent and rapid response to managing and containing the spread of Covid-19 through a series of initiatives developed by local government and the relevant authorities, including DCT-Abu Dhabi.

“The implementation of stringent measures and safety guidelines helped boost consumers’ confidence towards our destination, while simultaneously revitalising the tourism sector.”

Abu Dhabi is currently hosting the second edition of UFC’s Fight Island on the emirate’s Yas Island. It is also one of three venues across the UAE chosen to host Indian Premier League cricket matches, alongside Dubai and Sharjah; and it retains its position as the final race in a curtailed Formula One season.

Ali Al Shaiba, executive director, DCT-Abu Dhabi, previously told Arabian Business that “the sky is the limit” when it comes to hosting huge global events in the UAE capital.

He said: “Today we have a vision, we have a plan, to make Abu Dhabi the hub for different kinds of sports and big events. We have a lot of proposals on the table that we are studying and hopefully you will hear good news very soon.”

It was announced on Saturday that Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao wants to fight Irish mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor in the ring next year in a match-up that could be hosted in the Middle East, while rumours persist that a third fight between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury could take place in Abu Dhabi.

Al Hosani added that there will also be a strong focus on promoting the culture and tourism sectors, within the health and safety guidelines.

He said: “Abu Dhabi is a diverse destination with a variety of landscapes and environments, from which a multitude of unique cultural communities have grown to create a vibrant scene. We are currently working to develop the destinations within these communities to reflect our rich heritage, enabling creativity to thrive and spurring significant economic growth.”

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Dubai Economy fines 22 businesses for violating coronavirus restrictions

Fines included 19 for employees not wearing face masks and three for failing to adhere to social distancing measures

Dubai Economy has fined 22 businesses for violating Covid-19 guidelines following 673 inspection visits across the emirate on Saturday.

Inspections were carried out by the Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector, with visits to a number of open markets and shopping centres.

Authorities in Dubai fine six sports facilities after coronavirus breaches

Further ten establishments escaped with a warning following inspections from Dubai Sports Council and Dubai Economy

The fines included 19 for employees not wearing face masks and three for failing to adhere to social distancing measures.

Six of the violating establishments were bodybuilding gyms and they were fined in co-operation with the Dubai Sports Council.

The other businesses fined were from different trades, including retail, readymade garments, textiles & fabrics, transaction & follow-up services, sewing & embroidery, mill, mobile phones, building materials, and general trade.

Violating businesses were based in International City, Al Murar, and Ayal Nasir, in addition to a number of shopping centres.

Inspection teams also warned two other businesses for not placing the physical distancing stickers as required.

Overall, inspections found that 649 shops and commercial establishments fully complied with the precautionary measures.

Dubai Economy called on everyone to report any non-compliance to the precautionary guidelines through the Dubai Consumer app available on the Apple, Google, and Huawei stores, by calling 600545555, or by visiting the Consumerrights.ae website.

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Tour de force: how the UAE is growing its global brand

While coronavirus may have put a dampener on many of this year’s major sporting events, the route of the Tour de France – 3,483 kilometres spread across swathes of the French countryside – rendered the world’s most famous men’s multiple stage bicycle race relatively impervious to Covid-19 social distancing.

With most of the world at home, viewing figures of the annual televised event were higher, too, despite the 107th edition of the race having been postponed for the first time since World War II. An estimated one billion viewers worldwide tuned in to watch Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar, the 21-year-old UAE Team Emirates rider, achieve a sensational time trial victory to La Planche des Belles Filles, putting him in the lead with an unbeatable 59-seconds lead.

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While the delighted Pogacar said: “It’s unbelievable. It’s really crazy to be the winner of the Tour de France; this is just the top of the top,” he wasn’t the only one revelling in the victory. The leadership at Emirates Airline, sponsors of the victorious UAE Team Emirates since 2017, must have shared that moment of pure elation as they saw the exceptional victory unfurl, with the airline’s logo broadcast around the globe and viewed by millions of people.

“The UAE Team Emirates’ stunning victory at Tour de France, the world’s most prestigious cycling race, is a historic milestone for the UAE on the global sporting stage; This tremendous achievement strengthens the already deep relationship between the UAE and the sport of cycling, and will inspire a new generation of cyclists worldwide,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, CEO of Emirates Group said in a series of tweets.

It’s yet another marketing coup for the airline that also sponsors leading teams in football, rugby, tennis, motorsport, golf, horseracing, baseball, cricket and sailing – a far cry from its first lone tie-up in 1987 when it lent its support to a powerboat race in Dubai.

It’s another example of the might and ambition of Brand UAE, a small desert country known around the world thanks to its formidable publicity machine; joining hands with the world’s elite athletes and sports entities is a big part of its drive to promote the emirates around the world.

“Two major sports sponsorship deals that particularly stand out are Etihad’s sponsorship of Manchester City FC and Emirates’ sponsorship of Arsenal FC,” says Dave McCann, partner at RISE, a leading regional sports, culture and entertainment sponsorship agency. At the time of signature, the Etihad Airways deal was valued at $462 million and the Emirates deal at $257.6m.

Other notable sponsorships by UAE businesses include DP World’s backing of the European Tour and Ian Poulter (golf), including the naming rights to the season-ending DP World Tour Championship. “Etihad’s recent naming rights for the sponsorship of Yas Island Arena, Emirates’ global sponsorship of Formula 1, Dubai Duty Free’s sponsorship of horse racing events and the Irish Open golf tournament are all examples of big sponsorship deals by UAE companies,” adds McCann.

“There is a trend in UAE companies to take naming rights sponsorships when acquiring sponsorship rights. These are generally bigger deals financially, but also provide a much stronger association with the rights holder, which seems to be a major strategy of UAE businesses in order to expand their global recognition. Naming rights is growing in this region and has the unique capability of putting a brand at the centre of the fan experience, as well as turning their brand into a destination.  The power of this kind of engagement is unquestionable.”

UAE Team Emirates cycling generates $400m returns for sponsors, says CEO

UAE Team Emirates CEO Mauro Gianetti said brands reap huge rewards from holding ‘activations’ in the cities and countries in which world cycling tours are held

UAE Team Emirates CEO Mauro Gianetti told Arabian Business at the end of 2019 that the team has generated $400m returns for its sponsors, who invest just a fraction of that amount.

“In general, all our sponsors, and the main sponsors world tour teams like ours, [generate] an average of, at a minimum, 5 to 10 euros for each [euro] spent,” he said.

That’s not a bad return on investment; with the latest victory at the Tour de France this figure is likely to have increased substantially. While the victory celebrations amongst Team UAE Cycling may have continued for several days before the demands of elite-level training beckoned once more, the implications for what it means for the airline will unquestionably last longer.

Industry insight

Ben Faber is a regional director at CSM, a global brand and marketing company that oversees the communications for UAE Team Emirates.

“The global sports industry has grown year on year over the past two or three decades and the UAE is no different in that respect,” says Faber. “A relatively small market, it punches well above its weight in terms of sports sponsorship.  Emirates in particular has used sport for many years as a way of brand building in supporting the growth of their brand, aligning partnerships with sport with flight routes.”

That early model – the airline entered into its first sports sponsorship in 1998 – was very much the blueprint for UAE sports sponsorship for many years, which has grown from a ‘chairman’s whim’ to become a highly sophisticated, strategic and complex business worth billions of dollars annually.

“At this level, every partnership is bespoke and the most successful ones are doing it for clearly identified strategic reasons. Sponsorships can start from the most basic – such as driving awareness of the brand through global sports audiences – to more complex ones,” he explains.

In addition to running the communications for the UAE cycling team, CSM, whose clients include HSBC and Mubadala, builds sponsorship programs that include customer acquisition, rewards programs, employee engagement, loyalty schemes and more.

“In the case of UAE Team Emirates, it is unquestionably a global platform. In Covid times TV audiences are higher than normal. A sport like cycling can offer fantastic opportunities if you are trying to engage and reward customers, from cycling with athletes to hospitality experiences, prizes and incentives. Airlines, for example, can link these to loyalty programs for their most loyal customers. Ultimately a partnership such as the one between Emirates and UAE Team Emirates will give the sponsor a huge range of assets, from merchandise, to access to talent, memorable experiences and more.”

In turn, a professional team needs a revenue stream in order to operate as a top-tier player.  The highest earners in pro-cycling, such as Peter Sagan of Team Bora-Hansgrohe, are estimated to take home around  €5.5m. While Pogacar has not commanded anywhere near that figure to date, his recent victory will doubtless see him command a higher wage in addition to the $642,000 prize money he received for his Tour de France win.

Return on investment

Whereas sports sponsorship in its nascent era may have relied on little more than a handshake and a straightforward contract, today it is a highly complex industry.

“A majority of the sponsors we represent are very structured in terms of their return on investment (ROI) matrices,” says Steve Bainbridge, partner and head of sports & events management at Al Tamimi & Company, the first regional law firm to open a specialised sports law practice. “In fact, some sponsorship deals that may initially appear to be the least rigorous in terms of tangible returns can have periodic reporting and review with levers that allow for adjusted payments and/or additional benefits that can be triggered depending on performance, whether that be measured in product sales, footfall, social media traffic, etc.”

Steve Bainbridge, partner and head of sports & events management at Al Tamimi & Company.

The company represents rights holders, government entities, and corporate sponsors as well as a number of sports governing bodies, clubs and athletes.

“We advise on a range of issues and this can mean anything from stadium naming rights deals to club jersey sponsorships or title sponsor agreements for major tournaments or community events and many points in between. Obvious headline issues include the deal value and duration but with respect to sponsorship deals we find the greatest impact is moving much more towards partnership and integration of goals.”

It is clear that global sponsorship is on the up and up, a billion-dollar business that is inexorably linked to the world of sport. It is almost inconceivable to any sports fan today to imagine an event without a visual cacophony of logos jostling for prime position, but a hunger for innovation also underpins the million-dollar marketing and sponsorship budgets of big businesses.

“Sport continues to grow across its traditional forms but also in new ventures,” notes James Leeman, the CEO and founder of branding agency, Leeman Consult.

“In the last 20 years, e-sports has become one of the largest growing global sports with an estimated total viewership expected to grow at a 9 percent between 2019 and 2023, up from 454m in 2019 to 646m in 2023. Sponsorship is the biggest source of revenue. Innovation to provide exposure in this could become the best way for a brand to see their required ROI. We cannot move away from our traditions too quickly though and, as the UAE and its brands and supporting companies continue to invest in sport in its purest forms, there are small but relevant changes in their ROI with correct brand alignment, innovation and social responsibility coming to forefront.”

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UAE reports 851 new cases of coronavirus

Health authorities reveal 868 patients have recovered from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours

The number of coronavirus cases confirmed in the UAE fell from the four-figure highs of recent days on Sunday to 851 new infections.

Health authorities revealed over 106,000 tests had been carried out over the last 24 hours. It takes the total number of cases across the country, since the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic, to 91,469.

A further 868 people were said to have recovered from the virus, with total recoveries reaching 80,544.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) also revealed that one person, who had previously tested positive for coronavirus, had died in the last day “due to complications”. The country’s death toll currently stands at 412.

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Breitling: reaping the rewards of successful sponsorships

Tadej Pogacar wore a Breitling Endurance Pro and he was the winning cyclist of the TDF. What does this mean in terms of value for the brand?

The value is two-fold. From a product perspective, showing that our watch can perform on the wrist of the winner of the greatest cycling race in the world is the ultimate endorsement of the Endurance Pro.

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As UAE Team Emirates celebrates its Tour de France victory, Arabian Business looks at the business of sponsoring the world’s leading sports events. A global industry, when it comes to placing its brands on the livery of the world’s elite teams, the UAE is punching above its weight.

From a brand perspective, it reflects Breitling’s rich history in cycling. We partnered with the Grand Tours and the World Championships, and in the 1950s, we even worked with Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali, two of the sport’s greatest competitors.

It’s a heritage we are extremely proud of, and Tadej’s place on the Champs Elysees podium represents our return to the top step of the sport.

And last but not least, it’s of course visibility. Millions of people around the globe saw our Endurance Pro on Tadej’s wrist, which is priceless.

What are the main objectives for Breitling in its sports sponsorships?

We believe that sponsorships and brand partnerships can be a strong driver of our brand and our business – as long as it’s done right. We have a very specific sponsorship strategy in place, with three objectives:

  1. Bring the Breitling brand to life in the four segments we plan in: Air, Land, Sea and Professional. We have partnerships dedicated for each of these segments.
  2. Focus on accessible sports such as surfing and triathlon to shift perception towards our more casual, inclusive vision of luxury, which is the core of our brand positioning. We consciously stay away from the typical “luxury” sports such as Formula One or big yacht sailing.
  3. Ensure a perfect fit with our brand values, also on a personal level with each ambassador.

What kind of results might a watch brand expect from a sports partnership, and how is it good for business?

Sponsorship is a great way to achieve the type of perception shift I mentioned, because it lets watches exist in worlds that people relate to like, for example, in the world of cinema for our Premier or the world of cycling for the Endurance Pro.

Sports sponsorship specifically allows us to share in the highs, offer our support during the lows, and, in the case of the Endurance Pro, place our product at the very heart of the action as you saw during the Tour de France.

Breitling’s CMO Tim Sayler.
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Authorities in Dubai fine six sports facilities after coronavirus breaches

Further ten establishments escaped with a warning following inspections from Dubai Sports Council and Dubai Economy

Six sports facilities in Dubai have been slapped with fines after failing to adhere to strict Covid-19 health and safety regulations.

The fines were handed out following inspections from Dubai Sports Council and Dubai Economy and surrounded a failure to maintain the mandatory safe distance as well as non-compliance with the face mask rule.

A further ten establishments across the emirate escaped with a warning.

As part of measures to reopen sports facilities after the Covid-19-enforced lockdown, authorities issued a raft of guidelines to be followed, including maintaining hygiene and sanitisation requirements and ensuring a two-metre safe distancing rule is respected at all times.

Facilities have been instructed to follow all the other safety protocols and guidelines like wearing masks, checking temperature of visitors, providing sanitisers, etc.

The regulations require facilities to display public announcements, and awareness signage in highly visible areas. They must also maintain adequate records of their members, including names, telephone numbers and visit dates, to assist if contact tracing becomes necessary.

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