Findings of a Competitor Survey undertaken at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2011 and the event’s associated Economic Impact within the UAE

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The key findings that emerge from this report, examining the views of teams that took part in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (ADDC) 2011 and the event’s associated impact within the host country (UAE), can be summarized as follows:1. There were 106 registered competitors at the 2011 ADDC event. Of these no. 55 (58.3%) represented teams based outside of the UAE. Specifically 43% of all auto competitors (car, van and truck) were non-UAE domiciles and likewise some 56.3% of bike competitors were based overseas. In any event where the confirmed entry list is made up of more than half of all competitors from outside the host country there are clearly significant impactful benefits accrued in terms of foreign currency investment (i.e. expenditure) within that state. Moreover the ability to attract overseas teams to an event of this type is often the basis on which significant multi-media coverage (specifically television) is predicated and justified.2. The average cost of competing in the ADDC is Euro 43,136.64 according to the findings of the team survey, which forms the basis of this report. This figure excludes additional expenses (incurred only by certain teams) around freight and instead accounts for flights, accommodation, car/vehicle hire and incidental expenditure (e.g. food) for an average of 12.9 team personnel. Some 8 of the 26 teams were based in the UAE so the individual costs per team vary considerably, even if the average daily level of expenditure for a 7 day rally (Euro 6162.37) is appropriate for an event of this size and scale.3. On this theme if those competing teams based in the UAE (8/26) are excluded then the average cost of competing in the ADDC for international participants is in fact considerably higher at Euro 58,686.91, a 36% increase in expenditure over the mean (this figure is calculated on the same basis as point no. 2, i.e. excluding ‘outlying’ costs such as freight expenditure). Thus the overall value of overseas entrants to the ADDC could be said to be, on average, more than one-third greater than UAE-based entrants, underlining the disproportionate importance of the ADDC in this realm on account of its capacity to attract competing teams from outside the UAE. The average daily level of expenditure for international teams therefore stands at Euro 8383.84. Of course one of the reasons for this increase in expenditure is because overseas tend to be larger than UAE-based teams, albeit not significantly so or in all cases.4. The media value placed on the cumulative coverage of the ADDC 2011 event by the broadcasters Eurosport (across all platforms) was Euro 1.29 million. This equates to some 258 x 30 second advertisements on the same channel or 645 x 30 second advertisements on Eurosport 2, one of the group’s 6 television platforms. The broadcaster reaches 121 million homes in 59 countries throughout the world. The benefits to the UAE in terms of inward investment and specifically tourism by the depth and breadth of coverage offered by Eurosport are manifest. The opportunity now exists for the organizers and sponsors to work with Eurosport (and other such media broadcasters) to build on the base established this year and thus grow the media footprint of the event.5. Eurosport was not the only media outlet to carry coverage of the event. Other TV broadcasters covering the ADDC included Abu Dhabi TV, Al Dhafra TV, Al Jazeera Sports, Al Laith TV Production, CCTV Middle East, Ten Sports, Russia Al Yaum, TVP Polish Television, TVP Polish Television and Poland TV. The total media accreditation for the event was no. 44, 59% of whom (no. 26) were members of the international media corps, with the remaining (no. 18) based within the UAE. Members of the international media present at the event represented 17 different print publications, 5 websites and 4 television channels. Although the full extent of the media impact of the event is beyond the scope of this report these figures suggest it is likely to be considerable, possibly even disproportionate, for an event of this size, scale and type. Within the UAE the event organizers provided accreditation to representatives of 12 separate print publications and 6 television channels.6. The competing teams at the ADDC 2011 event rated their experience overall as being 8.1/10, a very impressive endorsement of the event in sporting and organizational terms. Indeed there was between 80 and 90% levels of satisfaction expressed by the teams across the key motor sport markers of safety, organization and team briefings/liaison. Thus not only is the ADDC an event strongly favored by competing teams because of its challenging terrain and unique rallying features (its route is 100% sand-based), it also meets the most exacting international standards in terms of event organization and safety competencies.7. The ADDC is also extremely beneficial for the host country’s tourism sector in a direct sense as, without exception, competing overseas teams confirmed that their support personnel would be taking a vacation in the country following the event. In this case team members either stayed for a period of between 3 and 4 days whilst an equal number confirmed their intention to remain in the UAE for the purposes of holiday making for a minimum of 7 days post-event. Thus the ADDC has direct spin-off effects across a range of other business sectors, many of which extend beyond sport.8. This is the first ever investigation into the economic footprint of visiting teams competing at a rallying event at World Cup level. For this the organisers, ATCUAE, deserve recognition and praise for its vision in locating the event in a much broader context than simply examining its sporting effect. In leading the way, the research into the ADDC should serve as a template for similar research across all FIM Cross-Country Rallies championship events as its capacity to further assist in the development of the series and be of considerable value to competing teams, sponsors and broadcasters is manifest. By way of a comparable level of investigation the FIA-endorsed study of the 2007 WRC championship – research conducted across 5 competing countries purposively selected to partake in this work – is worthy of reference. Indeed findings from this research were recently published in the leading international, peer reviewed academic journal, Sport in Society (Taylor and Francis, UK) (See Hassan, D. and O’Connor, S. (2009) The socio-economic impact of the FIA World Rally Championship 2007, Sport in Society, Vol. 12, No. 6, August 2009, pp. 709 – 724).
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUnknown Publisher
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 29 Nov 2011


  • Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
  • Economic Impact


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