Game-changing ties – BC Dubai-Coca-Cola Arena


First anchor tenant for Dubai's Coca-Cola Arena Image: Coliseum GSVA

The newly-established sports franchise team Dubai Basketball (BC Dubai) announced on July 8th an exclusive partnership with the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai (UAE) as part of which the Arena will be the home venue of the team.

‘Government of Dubai Media Office’ stated that under the milestone agreement Dubai’s first sports franchise team will be the official anchor tenant of the Coca-Cola Arena.

The Dubai Basketball is a professional basketball team based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The team was founded in 2024 and will play in the ABA League starting from the 2024-2025 seasons.

The ABA League, renamed the ABA League First Division in 2017, is the top-tier regional men’s professional basketball league that originally featured clubs from former Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia). Due to sponsorship reasons, the league was also known as the Goodyear League from 2001 to 2006, the NLB League from 2006 to 2011 and as the AdmiralBet ABA League from 2021. For the 2024-2025 seasons the Dubai Basketball from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also joining the league.

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

Meraas is a holding company privately-held and headquartered in Dubai with operations and assets in the United Arab Emirates. In 2020, Meraas become a subsidiary of Dubai Holding following a directive from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai.

Los Angeles (US)-based ASM Global is the world’s leading venue management company and producer of live event experiences. With over 350+ premier venues spanning worldwide, it operates and invests in the world’s most important stadiums, arenas, convention centers and theaters, including entertainment districts and mixed-use developments.

‘Government of Dubai Media Office’ further stated that the agreement paves the way for the introduction of international professional basketball in Dubai. Envisioned by its Chairman and Owner Abdulla Saeed Al Naboodah, Dubai Basketball aims to break into the EuroLeague, one of the top echelons of the sport. The team’s initial foray will be in the 16-team ABA (Adriatic) League, which will set in motion a series of events that will bring European stars to the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai.

Salem bin Dasmal, President of Dubai Basketball, expressed his enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, “Securing the Coca-Cola Arena as our official home venue underscores our dedication to elevating the sport of basketball in Dubai. As a beacon of entertainment and sports excellence, the 17,000-capacity Coca-Cola Arena aligns with Dubai Basketball’s commitment to delivering world-class experiences to fans across the region. This partnership allows us to create unforgettable experiences for our fans and showcase the best global basketball talent in a world-class facility.”

While the Dubai club will be playing their ABA League matches away in Europe, the Emirate will see top-class action during the home legs. All the 15 teams in the league will come to Dubai allowing the fans to watch some of the continent’s prominent names in action at the Coca-Cola Arena during the nine-month season. Dubai Basketball will face some of Europe’s top clubs like the KK Partizan NIS (a professional basketball club based in Belgrade, Serbia) and the KK Crvena zvezda (a professional basketball club based in Belgrade, Serbia).

The first games of the ABA League are set to start in September 2024. A full schedule of games will be announced later this month at the Coca-Cola Arena website with more information on the team, tickets and the official Dubai Basketball merchandise.

Maintained Mark Jan Kar, General Manager of Coca-Cola Arena, “The opportunity to build the ultimate home court for our players, our fans and our incredible City is an absolute honor. The Coca-Cola Arena’s integration with Dubai Basketball will change the game and Dubai’s sport culture in every sense.”

The partnership between Dubai Basketball and the Coca-Cola Arena highlights a commitment to making significant advancements in enhancing Dubai’s basketball landscape, fostering community engagement and promoting a sports culture across the Middle East.

By playing in the 2024-2025 seasons of the ABA League, Dubai Basketball plans to get a toehold in the EuroLeague, apart from helping build an identity for an enduring fan connection. The other activities include organizing the EuroLeague SuperCup and the Sports Business Summit which will help it elevate its international presence.

In subsequent years, Dubai Basketball will attempt to raise its competitive position. This is expected to boost gameday attendance and provide a wider reach. It will be followed by a transformative phase which includes striving for a top-10 qualification in the EuroLeague.

Barcelona (Spain)-based the EuroLeague, officially the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, is a European men’s professional basketball club competition. The league is widely recognized as the top-tier men’s league in Europe.

Dubai Basketball has appointed Jurica Golemac (Slovenian basketball coach) as the new Head Coach of the team. A seasoned basketball professional with a wealth of experience both as a player and a coach, Golemac is set to bring a fresh and dynamic approach to the team. His arrival marks a significant step forward for the club reflecting its commitment to basketball excellence.

Apart from competing in international basketball leagues, Dubai Basketball aims to help grow and develop the game and its fan base in the region. The organization seeks to cultivate a basketball culture in Dubai and generate sufficient interest to form a solid fan base. Additionally, the team plans to develop a club structure in the Emirate and nurture the youth teams with the creation of a state-of-the-art training facility.

Dubai Basketball is also in the process of laying the foundations of a youth program with an eye on a future date with the EuroLeague. This involves creating a club structure, ensuring compliance with the EuroLeague conditions and commitments and preparing to launch its flagship project: The Regional League.

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