Community first for Coca-Cola Arena


Mark Jan Kar at Coliseum EUROPE 2023 Image: Coliseum GSVA

Mark Jan Kar is through and through articulate. He is a connoisseur on the subject – the Coca-Cola Arena and its different facets. He knows the venue like the back of his hand and can speak on the same without a pause.

Mark Jan Kar has been associated with the Coca-Cola Arena Dubai since pre-opening. He started his stint in the Arena as the E-Commercial Director. As he puts in, “In May 2021, I was given the opportunity to take over the business as the General Manager.”

Mark Jan Kar, General Manager, Coca-Cola Arena, UAE, is a Member of Coliseum – Global Sports Venue Alliance.

In an almost extempore kind of conversation with Neil Levett, Emcee, Coliseum, UK, Mark Jan Kar, General Manager, Coca-Cola Arena, UAE, asserts that the Coca-Cola Arena authorities gives more preference to serving the community on which the venue sits rather than just focusing on how to keep the cash registers jingling. The venue, after all, represents diverse communities from all over the globe who have made Dubai their home. ‘Coliseum’ brings the details.

Coca-Cola Arena

The Coca-Cola Arena is a multipurpose arena located in the City Walk area in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The venue was opened on June 6th, 2019. It has a capacity of 17,000. Operated by the leading venue management company ASM Global, the arena hosts events that include concerts, sport, family entertainment, and ceremonies.

Mark Jan Kar begins by stating that the Coca-Cola Arena is operated by Los Angeles (US)-based ASM Global, the world’s largest event management company which boasts 360 venues around the world – from stadiums, conferences, music theaters as well as arenas.

He added, “I think ASM Global’s arena portfolio now sits at 160 and is spread across five continents. We welcome over two million guests annually.”

He tells Neil Levett – who is equally an articulate speaker – that the Coca-Cola Arena is now owned by a semi-Government entity called the Dubai Holding most famous for the Jumeirah Hotel Group in the UAE.

Both Levett and Kar agreed that the Coca-Cola Arena is positioned in the urban lifestyle development of City Walk and with the Arena capacity at 17,000, Kar added that it is “very much divided by a standing show in a seated format capacity. What is very incredible about the building is its versatility and the ability to host different types of shows. Even if a small event is being held attended by a crowd of 1000, it gives that feel of a full house event.”

Levett stated that the Coca-Cola Arena event diary is chock-a-block and Kar informed that just before Ramadan this year they had five events lined up which included among others an Indian film awards show and the American singer Demi Lovato Saturday night sizzler with a “strong crowd”.

Levett observed that it is an eclectic mix of crowd which comes to the Coca-Cola Arena.

Both Levett and Kar agreed that the Coca-Cola Arena does enjoy an incredible retractable system and Kar further informed that during COVID “we very much invested into drape lines and seat covers and lot of that is automated now”.

Levett questioned that an Indian film award show coming to Coca-Cola Arena, what did it imply? To this, Kar stated, “With all respect to our (UAE) small population, we actually don’t have local talent in the sense that can fill arenas or entertainment venues. So, we extended out to India and Pakistan and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain. The Emiratis are by per capita less than 12 percent.”


Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)-based the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), is a regional, interGovernmental, political, and economic union comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Levett and Kar both observed that people from all over the globe stay in Dubai – the expatriate population.

Added Kar, “I think we have about 203 recorded different expatriate nationalities and so if you are looking at 88 percent of the nine million population of expatriate, we have got a very diverse range of people with different interests, different styles, different habits, coming to the Coca-Cola Arena and the venue embraces all.”

Kar also stated that though Western contents drive business generally in venues, but in the Coca-Cola Arena it is the Indian and Pakistani contents which dominate.

The Coca-Cola Arena top shot stated, “We could fill the Coca-Cola Arena with Bollywood (Indian film industry) content and laugh all the way to the bank, but we believe in working in tandem with the stakeholders and serve the community on which the Arena sits to the best of our ability. Community interests, and not commercial interests, are our topmost priority.”

Levett stated that high net worth individuals invest in the corporate boxes of Coca-Cola Arena to which Kar stated, “The corporate hospitality matrix has changed significantly since we have opened. We have 42 suites in total and two premier lounges and pre-COVID we had that high worth individuals coming in and a lot of corporate banking. We are finding ourselves now in a position where we are losing the banks but the private individuals are coming back and we provide seven-star service which is their level of expectations.”


The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, more commonly referred to as COP28, will be the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference and will be held from November 30th-December 12th, 2023 at the Expo City, Dubai.

Mark Jan Kar concluded by stating that “COP28 will be a momentous moment for the UAE and though the Coca-Cola Arena is not yet Green-certified but we are working towards it. The COP28 in UAE will definitely educate and inform and will help us in learning lessons from the different venues and implement the same.”

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