2019 In Review – June

Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC) unveiled the masterplan for its sports and entertainment resort in Saudi Arabia, with the ‘Giga Project’ to feature a 20,000-seat cliff-top stadium and an 18,000-seat multi-purpose indoor arena, amongst a host of other attractions.

Located around 45km from the capital Riyadh, Qiddiya aims to deliver on many of the central tenets embodied in Vision 2030, an initiative that seeks to diversify Saudi Arabia’s interests away from the oil sector.

QIC said Qiddiya is set to become the Kingdom’s ‘Capital of Entertainment, Sports and the Arts’ with facilities and experiences that will bring together new opportunities and exposure at a scale and format never before seen.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said he believes the “experienced venue operators” lined up for the Milan-Cortina Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games will ensure a “perfect atmosphere” for athletes at the 2026 edition.

The Italian bid, which highlighted the planned use of existing venues for the Games, overcame rival Stockholm-Åre by 47 votes to 34 at the IOC Session on June 24 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Part of the plans will be a major new sports and entertainment arena unveiled by Oak View Group (OVG) and Live Nation earlier in the month.

Staying with major events, China was awarded the 2023 Asian Cup, with the national team football tournament to be staged in a number of new stadia in the country.

China will build new stadia in seven of the 12 planned host cities, with the country’s bid also including one back-up existing stadium in each host city.

China was the only remaining bidder for the tournament after the Korean Football Association withdrew its proposal in May. That came after Thailand and Indonesia had previously exited the race.

Mobile network operator EE renewed its sponsorship of London’s Wembley Stadium as part of a new wide-ranging partnership between its parent company BT and the English Football Association.

Under the new five-year agreement, the 90,000-seat venue has retained its official title of Wembley Stadium connected by EE. Other stadium sponsorship news saw naming rights deals involving Werder Bremen, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and Orlando City SC.

CJ LiveCity Corporation linked up with AEG in a joint venture to build a 20,000-capacity arena in Seoul, South Korea.

The planned CJ LiveCity complex will include the Seoul Metropolitan Arena, as well as a studio space, a K-pop-themed entertainment district and waterfront park.

In other AEG news, its AEG Facilities division was appointed as the operator of the under-construction $2bn (£1.6bn/€1.8bn) Las Vegas Stadium, now known as Allegiant Stadium.

Under the agreement, AEG Facilities will be responsible for the stadium’s operations beginning with providing pre-opening functions including overseeing the hiring and training of the venue’s full-time staff and planning and executing the stadium’s grand opening schedule of events and activities.