Sporting preferences in the Arab World: examining consumerism in the United Arab Emirates

David Hassan, Sean O Connor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Sport in the Middle East is an important vehicle for social, economic and political change. Indeed by deploying certain modernization agendas and with personal and political support offered at the highest levels of government, increasingly it is used as an indicator of regime stability and prestige (Amara, 2005). It is also relatively diverse in regard to what sports citizens choose to engage with, either as participants or spectators. Moreover, from the perspective of potential sponsors the Middle East constitutes something of a ‘green field site’ possessing unrivalled opportunities for expansion and growth. Later in this chapter, by drawing upon a critical use of marketing data collected by the research company TGI Arabia/ PARC, some initial appreciation of the Middle East market in terms of consumer preference and demographic profiling will be offered. As relatively little is known about the region, its sporting preferences or even the strategic use of sport, an appropriate place to begin any comprehensive analysis of sport in Middle East is by identifying those pursuits that already command a level of popular support and, additionally, to examine areas of potential expansion in this regard. With this in mind a particular focus is accorded motorsport in the UAE. Through the success of the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Grand Prix, staged at the futuristic Yas Marina circuit, Abu Dhabi, the UAE has very quickly established its place amongst the pantheon of world motorsport. This development however increasingly needs to be a sustainable one and so a proper appreciation of the sport’s current market demographics, and those who may potentially become part of these in the future, is central to its continued viability and growth. It is a important process for sports bodies to undertake, not least by those seeking to expand into emerging markets, and thereby not only define their arrival but to underpin this by remaining fully cognoscente of their ongoing, latent market potential. Indeed from the aforementioned, extant data it is possible to construct a particularly informative profile of motorsport consumers in the UAE and across the Gulf states. This reveals such enthusiasts as being largely young males, principally employed within the private sector, holding at least a first degree and having sizeable and available levels of disposable income. Such consumers are more likely than not to follow regional and international news and religious debates but are also very likely to be non-natives of the UAE and in fact typically emerge from outside the Middle East region altogether. Notwithstanding this prominent, non-native involvement in motorsport, interestingly UAE nationals are more likely than not to have attended a motorsport event in comparison to most other similarly-sized events. This is because motorsport – primarily F1 racing - is interpreted as a modern and evolving pastime, one that is in receipt of government support and sponsorship and thereby contributing towards national and regional pride.
LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationManaging Sport Social and Cultural Perspectives
Place of PublicationLondon
Pages239-251
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Fingerprint

United Arab Emirates
Arab
Sports
Middle East
Persian Gulf
market
disposable income
political support
sponsorship
event
spectator
prestige
political change
economic change
social economics
modernization
social change
private sector
news
marketing

Keywords

  • UAE
  • Sport
  • Arab World

Cite this

Hassan, D., & O Connor, S. (2013). Sporting preferences in the Arab World: examining consumerism in the United Arab Emirates. In Managing Sport Social and Cultural Perspectives (pp. 239-251). London.
Hassan, David ; O Connor, Sean. / Sporting preferences in the Arab World: examining consumerism in the United Arab Emirates. Managing Sport Social and Cultural Perspectives. London, 2013. pp. 239-251
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abstract = "Sport in the Middle East is an important vehicle for social, economic and political change. Indeed by deploying certain modernization agendas and with personal and political support offered at the highest levels of government, increasingly it is used as an indicator of regime stability and prestige (Amara, 2005). It is also relatively diverse in regard to what sports citizens choose to engage with, either as participants or spectators. Moreover, from the perspective of potential sponsors the Middle East constitutes something of a ‘green field site’ possessing unrivalled opportunities for expansion and growth. Later in this chapter, by drawing upon a critical use of marketing data collected by the research company TGI Arabia/ PARC, some initial appreciation of the Middle East market in terms of consumer preference and demographic profiling will be offered. As relatively little is known about the region, its sporting preferences or even the strategic use of sport, an appropriate place to begin any comprehensive analysis of sport in Middle East is by identifying those pursuits that already command a level of popular support and, additionally, to examine areas of potential expansion in this regard. With this in mind a particular focus is accorded motorsport in the UAE. Through the success of the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Grand Prix, staged at the futuristic Yas Marina circuit, Abu Dhabi, the UAE has very quickly established its place amongst the pantheon of world motorsport. This development however increasingly needs to be a sustainable one and so a proper appreciation of the sport’s current market demographics, and those who may potentially become part of these in the future, is central to its continued viability and growth. It is a important process for sports bodies to undertake, not least by those seeking to expand into emerging markets, and thereby not only define their arrival but to underpin this by remaining fully cognoscente of their ongoing, latent market potential. Indeed from the aforementioned, extant data it is possible to construct a particularly informative profile of motorsport consumers in the UAE and across the Gulf states. This reveals such enthusiasts as being largely young males, principally employed within the private sector, holding at least a first degree and having sizeable and available levels of disposable income. Such consumers are more likely than not to follow regional and international news and religious debates but are also very likely to be non-natives of the UAE and in fact typically emerge from outside the Middle East region altogether. Notwithstanding this prominent, non-native involvement in motorsport, interestingly UAE nationals are more likely than not to have attended a motorsport event in comparison to most other similarly-sized events. This is because motorsport – primarily F1 racing - is interpreted as a modern and evolving pastime, one that is in receipt of government support and sponsorship and thereby contributing towards national and regional pride.",
keywords = "UAE, Sport, Arab World",
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note = "Reference text: Ahmed, L. (1992) Women and Sport in Islamic Society (Alexandria Egypt: Alexandria University). Amara, M. & Theodoraki, E. (2010) Transnational network formation through sports related regional development projects in the Arabian Peninsula. In International Journal of Sport Policy 2 (2): 135-158. Amara, M. (2005) 2006 Qatar Asian Games: a ‘modernization’ project from above? In Sport in Society 8 (3): 493-514. Amara, M. (2007) When the Arab World was mobilised around the FIFA 2006 World Cup. In Journal of North African Studies 12 (4): 417-438. Arber, S. (2001) ‘Designing Samples’ in Gilbert, N. (Ed.) Researching Social Life (2nd edition). (London: Sage) ATCUAE (2010) Motorsport Volunteerism in the UAE: research findings from 2009 Ethiad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. (FIA/Indiana State University: Abu Dhabi Men’s College). Becker, G.S. (1996) Accounting for Tastes: Part 1 Personal Capital, Part 2 Social Capital (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press). Caldwell, L.L. & Andereck, K.L. (1994) Motives for initiating and continuing membership in a recreation-related voluntary association. In Leisure Studies 16: 33- 44. Curwin, J. & Slater, R. (2004) Quantitative Methods for Business Decisions (5th edition). (London: Thomson Learning). Downward, P., Lumsden, L. & Ralston, R. (2005) Gender differences in sport event volunteering: insights from Crew 2002 at the XVII Commonwealth Games. In Managing Leisure 10: 219-236. Eason, K. (2009) Show me the money: Gulf states secure place on world stage. In The Times November 16th 2009. Available at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/more_sport/article6917970.ece [Accessed 07/11/10]. Farrell, J.M. Johnston, M.E. & Twynam, D.G. (1998) Volunteer motivation, satisfaction and management at an elite sporting competition. In Journal of Sport Management 12 :288-300. FIFA website news, ‘2022 FIFA World Cup awarded to Qatar’, (02.12.2010). Accessed 7.12.2010. Available at http://www.fifa.com/newscentre/news/newsid=1344500.html. FIA (2009) Driving Motorsport Together: FIA Middle East Strategy 2010-2014. (Dubai: FIA) Fuller, G.E. (2003) The youth factor: the new demographics of the Middle East and the implications for US policy. In Brookings (June 2003) Available at http://www.brookings.ed/papers/2003/06middleeast_fuller.aspx [Accessed 06/11/10]. Goldschmidt, A. Jr. & Davidson, L. (2006) A Concise History of the Middle East (8th edition). (Boulder CO: Westview). Green, B.C. & Chalip, L. (1998) Sport volunteers: research agenda and application. In Sport Marketing Quarterly 7 (2): 14-23. Gulf Talent (2007) Gulf salaries rise by 9.0{\%}. In Gulf Talent (September 2007). Available at http://www.gulftalent.com/home/Gulf-salaries-rise-by-90-Article-25,html [Accessed 08/11/10). Hassan, D. & O’Connor, S. (2009) The socio-economic impact of the FIA World Rally Championship 2007. In Sport in Society 12 (6): 709-724. Henry, I.P., Amara, M. & Al-Tauqi, M. (2003) Sport, Arab Nationalism and the Pan-Arab Games. In International Review for the Sociology of Sport (38):295-310. Hosking, P. & Robertson, D. (2009) Dubai in deep water as ripples from debt crisis spread In The Times (November 27th 2009). Available at http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/markets/the_gulf/article6934261.ecce?pri. [Accessed 06/11/10]. Jagdish, B. (2004) In Defence of Globalization (New York: Oxford University Press). Matuska, N. (2010) The Development of Women’s Football in Morocco. In Middle East Viewpoints: Sports and the Middle East: 25-37. Messner, M.A. (1994) ‘Sport and Male Domination: the Female Athlete as Contested Ideological Terrain’. In Birell, S. & C.L. Cole (Eds.) Women, Sport and Culture (Champaign III: Human Kinetics). Moore, K & Lewis, D (2009) Origins of Globalization (New York: Routledge). PR Newswire, ‘Grant Thornton Study Outlines Commercial and Football Development Opportunities from a FIFA World Cup in the Middle East’. Printed 24.12.2010, Accessed 7.12.2010. Available at http://www.prnewswire.com. Pradhan, S. (2009) Economic Recession and the Middle East’s World Trade: Recent Policy Trends and Implications (Dubai: Dubai Gulf Research Centre). Sorek, T. (2007) Arab Soccer in a Jewish State: the Integrative Enclave (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). South African Tourism; ‘Impact of the 2010 FIFA World Cup’ December 2010. Accessed 8-12-2010. Available at www.southafrica.net/research. Stevenson, T. B. & Alaug, A. K. (2010) Yemeni Football and Identity Politics. In Middle East Viewpoints: Sports and the Middle East : 16-19. Strigas, A. & Jackson, N. (2003) Motivating volunteers to serve and succeed: design and results of a pilot study that explores demographics and motivational factors in sport volunteerism. In International Sports Journal 7 (1): 111-121. TGI/PARC (2010) Motorsports TGI UAE 09 (Dubai: PARC). The Arab Post online, ‘Qatar sets the scene for the first World cup in the Middle East’, (02.12.2010).http://www.en.arabpostonline.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=604&catid=62&Itemid=77. Accessed 7th December 2010. Walseth, K. & Fasting, K. (2003) Islam’s view on physical activity and sport: Egyptian women interpreting Islam. In International Review for the Sociology of Sport 38 (1): 45-60. Younes, J. (2010) A Step on the Path to Peace: How Basketball is United Arab and Jewish Youth in Jerusalem. In Middle East Viewpoints: Sports and the Middle East: 38-41.",
year = "2013",
month = "1",
day = "1",
language = "English",
isbn = "978-0-415-57216",
pages = "239--251",
booktitle = "Managing Sport Social and Cultural Perspectives",

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Hassan, D & O Connor, S 2013, Sporting preferences in the Arab World: examining consumerism in the United Arab Emirates. in Managing Sport Social and Cultural Perspectives. London, pp. 239-251.

Sporting preferences in the Arab World: examining consumerism in the United Arab Emirates. / Hassan, David; O Connor, Sean.

Managing Sport Social and Cultural Perspectives. London, 2013. p. 239-251.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Caldwell, L.L. & Andereck, K.L. (1994) Motives for initiating and continuing membership in a recreation-related voluntary association. In Leisure Studies 16: 33- 44. Curwin, J. & Slater, R. (2004) Quantitative Methods for Business Decisions (5th edition). (London: Thomson Learning). Downward, P., Lumsden, L. & Ralston, R. (2005) Gender differences in sport event volunteering: insights from Crew 2002 at the XVII Commonwealth Games. In Managing Leisure 10: 219-236. Eason, K. (2009) Show me the money: Gulf states secure place on world stage. In The Times November 16th 2009. Available at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/more_sport/article6917970.ece [Accessed 07/11/10]. Farrell, J.M. Johnston, M.E. & Twynam, D.G. (1998) Volunteer motivation, satisfaction and management at an elite sporting competition. In Journal of Sport Management 12 :288-300. FIFA website news, ‘2022 FIFA World Cup awarded to Qatar’, (02.12.2010). Accessed 7.12.2010. Available at http://www.fifa.com/newscentre/news/newsid=1344500.html. FIA (2009) Driving Motorsport Together: FIA Middle East Strategy 2010-2014. (Dubai: FIA) Fuller, G.E. (2003) The youth factor: the new demographics of the Middle East and the implications for US policy. In Brookings (June 2003) Available at http://www.brookings.ed/papers/2003/06middleeast_fuller.aspx [Accessed 06/11/10]. Goldschmidt, A. Jr. & Davidson, L. (2006) A Concise History of the Middle East (8th edition). (Boulder CO: Westview). Green, B.C. & Chalip, L. (1998) Sport volunteers: research agenda and application. In Sport Marketing Quarterly 7 (2): 14-23. Gulf Talent (2007) Gulf salaries rise by 9.0%. In Gulf Talent (September 2007). Available at http://www.gulftalent.com/home/Gulf-salaries-rise-by-90-Article-25,html [Accessed 08/11/10). Hassan, D. & O’Connor, S. (2009) The socio-economic impact of the FIA World Rally Championship 2007. In Sport in Society 12 (6): 709-724. Henry, I.P., Amara, M. & Al-Tauqi, M. (2003) Sport, Arab Nationalism and the Pan-Arab Games. In International Review for the Sociology of Sport (38):295-310. Hosking, P. & Robertson, D. (2009) Dubai in deep water as ripples from debt crisis spread In The Times (November 27th 2009). Available at http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/markets/the_gulf/article6934261.ecce?pri. [Accessed 06/11/10]. Jagdish, B. (2004) In Defence of Globalization (New York: Oxford University Press). Matuska, N. (2010) The Development of Women’s Football in Morocco. In Middle East Viewpoints: Sports and the Middle East: 25-37. Messner, M.A. (1994) ‘Sport and Male Domination: the Female Athlete as Contested Ideological Terrain’. In Birell, S. & C.L. Cole (Eds.) Women, Sport and Culture (Champaign III: Human Kinetics). Moore, K & Lewis, D (2009) Origins of Globalization (New York: Routledge). PR Newswire, ‘Grant Thornton Study Outlines Commercial and Football Development Opportunities from a FIFA World Cup in the Middle East’. Printed 24.12.2010, Accessed 7.12.2010. Available at http://www.prnewswire.com. Pradhan, S. (2009) Economic Recession and the Middle East’s World Trade: Recent Policy Trends and Implications (Dubai: Dubai Gulf Research Centre). Sorek, T. (2007) Arab Soccer in a Jewish State: the Integrative Enclave (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). South African Tourism; ‘Impact of the 2010 FIFA World Cup’ December 2010. Accessed 8-12-2010. Available at www.southafrica.net/research. Stevenson, T. B. & Alaug, A. K. (2010) Yemeni Football and Identity Politics. In Middle East Viewpoints: Sports and the Middle East : 16-19. Strigas, A. & Jackson, N. (2003) Motivating volunteers to serve and succeed: design and results of a pilot study that explores demographics and motivational factors in sport volunteerism. In International Sports Journal 7 (1): 111-121. TGI/PARC (2010) Motorsports TGI UAE 09 (Dubai: PARC). The Arab Post online, ‘Qatar sets the scene for the first World cup in the Middle East’, (02.12.2010).http://www.en.arabpostonline.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=604&catid=62&Itemid=77. Accessed 7th December 2010. Walseth, K. & Fasting, K. (2003) Islam’s view on physical activity and sport: Egyptian women interpreting Islam. In International Review for the Sociology of Sport 38 (1): 45-60. Younes, J. (2010) A Step on the Path to Peace: How Basketball is United Arab and Jewish Youth in Jerusalem. In Middle East Viewpoints: Sports and the Middle East: 38-41.

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AB - Sport in the Middle East is an important vehicle for social, economic and political change. Indeed by deploying certain modernization agendas and with personal and political support offered at the highest levels of government, increasingly it is used as an indicator of regime stability and prestige (Amara, 2005). It is also relatively diverse in regard to what sports citizens choose to engage with, either as participants or spectators. Moreover, from the perspective of potential sponsors the Middle East constitutes something of a ‘green field site’ possessing unrivalled opportunities for expansion and growth. Later in this chapter, by drawing upon a critical use of marketing data collected by the research company TGI Arabia/ PARC, some initial appreciation of the Middle East market in terms of consumer preference and demographic profiling will be offered. As relatively little is known about the region, its sporting preferences or even the strategic use of sport, an appropriate place to begin any comprehensive analysis of sport in Middle East is by identifying those pursuits that already command a level of popular support and, additionally, to examine areas of potential expansion in this regard. With this in mind a particular focus is accorded motorsport in the UAE. Through the success of the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Grand Prix, staged at the futuristic Yas Marina circuit, Abu Dhabi, the UAE has very quickly established its place amongst the pantheon of world motorsport. This development however increasingly needs to be a sustainable one and so a proper appreciation of the sport’s current market demographics, and those who may potentially become part of these in the future, is central to its continued viability and growth. It is a important process for sports bodies to undertake, not least by those seeking to expand into emerging markets, and thereby not only define their arrival but to underpin this by remaining fully cognoscente of their ongoing, latent market potential. Indeed from the aforementioned, extant data it is possible to construct a particularly informative profile of motorsport consumers in the UAE and across the Gulf states. This reveals such enthusiasts as being largely young males, principally employed within the private sector, holding at least a first degree and having sizeable and available levels of disposable income. Such consumers are more likely than not to follow regional and international news and religious debates but are also very likely to be non-natives of the UAE and in fact typically emerge from outside the Middle East region altogether. Notwithstanding this prominent, non-native involvement in motorsport, interestingly UAE nationals are more likely than not to have attended a motorsport event in comparison to most other similarly-sized events. This is because motorsport – primarily F1 racing - is interpreted as a modern and evolving pastime, one that is in receipt of government support and sponsorship and thereby contributing towards national and regional pride.

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Hassan D, O Connor S. Sporting preferences in the Arab World: examining consumerism in the United Arab Emirates. In Managing Sport Social and Cultural Perspectives. London. 2013. p. 239-251