In the middle of summer, Dubai is hot and humid, with the mercury often bursting through 45°C. This heat makes outdoor fitness impractical and unsafe. To combat a decline in fitness, Dubai Sports World takes up residence in Dubai World Trade Centre for three months every year. 25,000 square metres of sheltered, air conditioned space is a magnet for sporting enthusiasts, drawing attendees from all over Dubai and beyond. It runs from early summer to the beginning of September each year right through Ramadan. DSW is open to the public and completely free to enter.
Here’s a video capturing aspects of this spectacular indoor sports and of course showing OpenPlay’s online sports booking system!
The centre caters to a dizzying number of sports and activities, from street basketball to pro-wrestling. Players can rent pitches and courts,or, those eager to learn, can join one of the many leading sports academies. Online bookings are powered by OpenPlay, the quick and easy bespoke booking system. The event is arranged by Dubai World Trade Centre alongside Dubai Sports Council. With top of the range sports equipment and the latest technology, it is an expensive venue to run… So, how does it make ends meet?
Advertisements for Pepsi border the football pitches and the walls are draped with TechnoGym banners. In 2017, no fewer than 17 companies sponsored the event, including Nissan, Pepsi, and Adidas. It’s not just international names, but Shuttle Time Dubai, Dubai World Trade Center, and Dubai Sports Council. These brands know the importance of giving the community access to fitness, and the positive brand image they will receive, in return for sponsoring such a healthy and engaging event.
Here in the UK, sports sponsorship is generally restricted to professional games. We have the Nitto ATP, Heineken Cup and Barclays Premier League. Our massive venues are also sponsored: The 02 Arena, Sports Direct Arena, The Emirates Stadium. Yet, we are disinclined to use sports sponsorship in our local, grassroots venues and activities. We allow court lines to fade, nets to rip, and bibs to lose their colour. The exception of this is the Powerleague, whose sponsors include Lucozade, Budweiser, and Adidas. The pristine condition of pitches and goals used by Powerleague are evidence of outsider funding (as is a brick red pitch with Budweiser printed across the centre). It may be a little crass for some, but Dubai Sports World and Powerleague have financial models that many grassroots level organisations could benefit from.