Oak View Group, the venue development, advisory and investment company, has expanded into the Middle East through a joint venture with Ethara, the region’s leading event management and venue operator.
Ethara was formed in May following a merger between Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management (ADMM) and Flash Entertainment. Ethara, which means ‘thrill’ in Arabic, is led by Saif Al Noaimi, the former chief executive of ADMM and board member of Flash.
Ethara currently promotes Formula 1’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yasalam After-Race Concerts, and other events in the region. It operates several venues in the United Arab Emirates, including Etihad Arena (pictured), Etihad Park, Yas Marina Circuit and Yas Conference Centre.
OVG has nine major new arenas across North America and Europe either already open or under development. Co-op Live, the company’s new 23,500-capacity arena in the English city of Manchester, is due to open in April, while it is planning on building a 20,000-seat venue in Las Vegas.
The launch of OVG’s joint venture with Ethara comes after the former recently acquired London-based high-end hospitality provider Rhubarb Hospitality Collection (RHC). Ethara will work closely with RHC to improve the fan experience at live entertainment venues across the Middle East, including in countries such as the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Tim Leiweke, chief executive of OVG, said: “The Middle East is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies and live entertainment markets, so our new offering in the region is a natural step for OVG to take.
“The pace of change in the region, with major global events like the Dubai Expo and Qatar World Cup, makes it one of the most exciting places in the world to operate in right now. We are confident that working with our partner Ethara, OVG will emulate our success across North America and Europe in the Middle East.”
Al Noaimi added: “It is a proud moment to announce this joint venture with our new partner, OVG, as we continue to expand our capabilities and impact across the region as the leading event management and venue operator in the Middle East. The significant growth in our region now includes regularly hosting the world’s biggest events.
“There is increasing demand for world-class venues with first-class hospitality to serve these events and provide unforgettable experiences for fans. This partnership with OVG will allow us to continue to innovate in this space and continue to bring exciting new events and opportunities to the market.”