The Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which launched on Yas Island in 2009, has put the UAE capital firmly on the global sporting map and is one of the nation’s favourite diary dates. Sitting astride the Hermann Tilke-designed racetrack, the 499-room Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi offers unbeatable views of the action. For business events, the hotel also boasts 3,520 square metres of conference and banqueting space including a ballroom, six meeting rooms, four boardrooms and a stunning terrace that is ideal for al fresco events.
Yas Marina Circuit itself also possesses a comprehensive selection of meeting and event spaces. Both indoor and outdoor corporate hospitality options are available, with The Paddock comprising 12 luxury suites and the GP Halls offering almost 1,200 square metres of event space with a difference.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, November 24-26, 2017
Contact: yasmarinacircuit.com / +971 2 6599800
Big-hitters including Milos Raonic and Rafael Nadal battled it out at the 2016 Mubadala World Tennis Championship in December, with the latter scooping his fourth title along with the US$250,000 top prize. The singles-only exhibition tournament debuted in 2009 at the International Tennis Complex in Zayed Sports City, and features six top names every year. Upwards of 15,000 fans attend the annual competition, providing a top platform for hospitality and exhibition opportunities. As well as hosting player autograph sessions, the Tennis Village has a space for companies to promote their brands, food and beverage outlets and a music stage.
Mubadala World Tennis Championship, December
Contact: mubadalawtc.com / +971 2 4088388
One of the biggest events on the European Tour, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship has helped the emirate to establish itself as a noteworthy international golfing destination. The tournament launched in 2006, as part of the tour’s ambition to increase its global reach. Hosted at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, with its Falcon Clubhouse and par-72, 7,600-yard course, this is one of three tournaments that take place annually in the Middle East – the so-called ‘Gulf Swing’ – alongside the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. With a prize fund of US$2.7 million (AED9.9 million), it also has the region’s richest purse. For business guests, Abu Dhabi Golf Club has four meeting and conference rooms and a two-storey event space, which affords excellent views of the golfing action.
Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, January 2018
Contact: abudhabigolfchampionship.com / +971 2 5588990
Polo and horseracing are hugely popular in Abu Dhabi, and the UAE capital offers plenty of equine entertainment to get excited about. The Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club boasts eight polo fields, stables for more than 300 ponies and a 2,000-seat grandstand with a VIP entrance, media facilities and business centre. The 300-hectare club also offers bespoke hospitality packages. The Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club is located in Al Mushrif, and has an international standard racecourse as well as a circular, 2,000-metre training track and 250 air-conditioned stalls for the racehorses. Among its annual race meetings are the National Day Cup and Emirates Championship, plus show jumping events like the Al Forsan Global Champions Tour.
The IPIC World Triathlon Abu Dhabi launched in 2015 and is part of the ITU World Triathlon Series. The competition, which switched locations this year from the Corniche to Yas Island, serves as the nine-race series’ season opener. The event welcomes the world’s best triathletes, plus people from a broad selection of age groups and fitness levels. The three triathlon distances are: Sprint (750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run), Olympic (1,500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run) and Maxi (1,500m swim, 80km bike, 20km run). Other races include the Mini 1km for ages five to eight, and the Kids’ Duathlon for ages seven to 11.
IPIC World Triathlon Abu Dhabi, March 2017
The abundance of expatriates in Abu Dhabi from cricket-loving nations such as India, Pakistan and England is helping the sport to flourish in the UAE capital. The Abu Dhabi Cricket Club is based at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Sas Al Nakhl, which can seat 20,000 people. The facility can also host large-scale concerts and corporate events. Meeting rooms can hold up to 500 people, with the option of on-site catering.
Abu Dhabi Cricket Club
Contact: adcricketclub.ae / +971 2 5588331
Modern-day camel racing in the UAE combines the traditional and the futuristic, as remote-controlled robot jockeys ride the camels around dedicated tracks across the city. Al Ain boasts two tracks – Al Wathba Camel Racetrack and Al Maqam Track. Another heritage sport, dhow racing is also popular, with the wooden boats recalling the UAE’s past as a pearl diving hub. Up to 90 vessels can compete per race, with contests at the Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club split into three boat classes: 22-foot, 43-foot and 60-foot.