Sports sector adds over Dhs9 billion to Dubai’s economy in 2021


Sheikh Mansoor chairs the Dubai Sports Council’s Board of Directors meeting in Dubai on Monday.

Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council (DSC), said on Monday that the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, supported by a robust regulatory framework and an active lifestyle had enabled the emirate to consolidate its position as the world’s preferred hub for sports in addition to being a destination for business, tourism, and education.

Sheikh Mansoor made these remarks while chairing the third meeting of the DSC’s Board of Directors, during which he announced that the sports sector’s contribution to Dubai’s economy exceeded Dhs9 billion in 2021, rising to 2.3% of the emirate’s GDP for the year. He also announced that the sector supports the creation of 105,000 job opportunities, accounting for 3.8% of the total employment in Dubai.

Sheikh Mansoor credited Dubai’s pioneering regulatory framework and robust infrastructure for shaping the emirate’s sports sector. He noted that the government’s support for the industry is an integral priority within Dubai’s drive to become the world’s best city to live and work in.

Sheikh Mansoor said: “We are proud of the significant growth in the contribution of the sports sector to Dubai’s annual GDP. In addition to nurturing and fostering Emirati and expat athletes living in the UAE and ensuring the community’s health and happiness, the sports industry is now a significant economic contributor.

“At the DSC, we were keen to measure this growth in the contribution of sports to Dubai’s economy. In line with international best practices, we conducted a study in association with a major global consultancy. The study analysed and calculated the economic contribution of sports across different areas of the industry, including sports tourism, investment in sports training academies, sports events, and others.

“The sports sector benefits from Dubai’s position as the world’s preferred destination for living, working, studying, and investing. The DSC supports the industry and the increase in its contribution to GDP by strengthening relations with international sports institutions and bodies. The Council offers state-of-the-art facilities that support the work of local and international event organisers, which contributes to the growth of the sector.

“DSC encourages international sports stars and investors to take advantage of Dubai’s world-class facilities to open sports academies and host major world championships and training camps for various clubs, national teams and champion athletes, as well as to benefit from investment opportunities in its various fields. All these factors contributed to increasing the sector’s economic contribution and the number of employees in various related companies.”

Chaired by Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed, the third meeting of the DSC’s Board of Directors was attended by His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Council; Lieutenant General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police; and DSC members Hala Yousef Badri, Sami Al Qamzi, Maryam Al Hammadi, Moza Al-Marri, and Jamal Al Marri. Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of the Council, and Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of the Council, were also present during the meeting.

Factors driving growth The report showed that among the areas that contributed to the increase in the sports sector’s contribution to Dubai’s GDP were factories manufacturing sports equipment and sportswear, outlets retailing bicycles, sportswear and equipment, physical training and fitness centres, and cycling tracks and sports centres. Several sports, including padel tennis, gymnastics, and yoga, benefitted from Dubai’s robust regulatory and physical infrastructure and increased active lifestyle among different members of society. The availability of specialists and experts in events management and sports medicine was also a contributing factor.

Dubai saw more than 400 competitive sports events in 2021, including more than 130 international sporting events, which contributed to the growth in sponsorship, marketing, insurance, travel, transportation, hotel room reservations and hospitality spending.

In addition to the increase in promotional media revenues, millions worldwide watched incredible clips showcasing the beauty of Dubai, its cultural development, and unique tourist and residential attractions. The coverage of major sports events, including the UAE International Cycling Tour, the Dubai International Sports Conference, the Dubai Globe football Awards, and the Confederations Cup for beach football and golf tournaments, contributed to attracting more tourists and potential residents and property investors.

More than 1.65 million professionals and amateurs of different ages participated in various annual sporting events, including many participating athletes from outside the country. More than 400 sports academies and over 100 public and private sports clubs in Dubai attracted many training camps for clubs and teams of different nationalities and sports.

Esports Dubai’s advanced infrastructure, the superior quality of life, and the availability of skills in different fields have attracted major companies and e-sports organisers. The city plays host to several international tournaments and is set to host several large international tournaments and events in the future, which is set to further increase the sports sector’s contribution to Dubai’s GDP.


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