Douglas Waller has been appointed to the position of chief operating officer at the new 20,000-seat Dubai Arena, which is scheduled to open next year.

Waller most recently worked for the IMG agency, and previously held a Dubai-based role with the International Cricket Council, overseeing commercial rights and management of the organisation’s commercial partnerships.

Waller will start his new role in January.

Dubai Arena chief executive Guy Ngata said, according to the Trade Arabia news service: “Waller brings significant experience at the highest levels of commercial partnerships negotiations and finance management to the venue. As a vice president at International Management Group (IMG) for the past three years, Waller has worked closely with the organisers of the Expo 2020 Dubai to develop and execute a highly successful global sponsorship programme.”

Ngata added: “Doug’s commercial experience and leadership in the sports and entertainment space together with his thoughtful decision making and proven leadership makes him a tremendous acquisition for the Dubai Arena team. In addition, his 10 years’ experience working and living in Dubai has given him a sound understanding of the local culture, not to mention a strong business network.”

Waller said: “The entertainment and sports worlds are changing rapidly and the Dubai Arena will be a clear choice for new and exciting properties looking to enter or expand their presence in the MEA region.

“I am very excited to be joining a highly experienced leadership team that will support Meraas in delivering this world-class facility to the people of Dubai and the entertainment capital of the Middle East.”

The arena, which is operated by Asia-Pacific venue management company AEG Ogden, will host sports and live entertainment events when it opens in 2018.

Ngata was appointed as the general manager of the arena in August. He previously served as chief executive of Auckland’s Eden Park stadium, and has also held roles at the then Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia, and the Mercedes-Benz Arena in China.

Image: AEG Ogden