Yas Bay Arena to (fly high) with Etihad Arena moniker


Etihad Arena Abu Dhabi update Jan 2020 Image: Etihad Airways / Miral

The stupendous multipurpose indoor space – the Dh12 billion Yas Bay Arena in Abu Dhabi – will now be called Etihad Arena. Etihad has obtained exclusive naming rights for the new majestic venue. A final opening date is yet to be announced though it is set for a 2020 opening as announced by Miral in October 2019.

A press release issued to this effect stated that the Etihad Arena will host world-class concerts, sporting extravaganzas, family entertainment and private events the whole year through.

Miral, Abu Dhabi’s creator of destinations, finalized the partnership with Etihad Airways – the national and second largest airline in the UAE – on Wednesday. The value of the deal has not been disclosed.

The release further stated that since Etihad Airways enjoys an excellent track record of connecting Abu Dhabi to the rest of the world and showcasing UAE as a vibrant and growing hub for culture, business and tourism, the airline is the perfect choice to futher boost the image of this one-of-a-kind venue and promote Yas Island as a destination par excellence.

The release also stated that as both the companies played a major role in the Emirate’s economic diversification and development matrix, the new partnership will catapult Etihad Arena to the position of one of the leading entertainment venues in the region and a significant addition to Yas Island and Abu Dhabi’s entertainment and tourism offering.

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Aviation Group, commented, “It’s an honor to partner with an Abu Dhabi institution such as Miral on this joint venture, which will further promote Abu Dhabi and Yas Island as a hub for entertainment, tourism and culture. Etihad Arena complements our global presence at a number of sporting and entertainment venues, most notably Etihad Stadium in Manchester, home of Manchester City Football Club. This new arena will bring an abundance of talent to our capital, providing a diverse range of entertainment options for guests visiting our beautiful city, or for those who call the UAE home.”

Remarked Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral, on the agreement, “As our national airline with international reach, Etihad Airways is the ideal partner to help position the newly named Etihad Arena competitively on the local and regional map of live entertainment destinations. The new venue will be a significant addition to the unique offerings on Yas Island and in Abu Dhabi, creating unforgettable experiences, and helping us deliver on our vision to position Yas Island as a top global destination for entertainment, leisure and business. This is a testament to our commitment to grow the tourism industry and achieve our leadership’s vision of economic diversification.”

To be operated by Flash Entertainment, the Etihad Arena has been so designed so that it is capable of holding large-scale and private events. The arena offers amazing flexibility with a capacity ranging from 200 to 18,000 people. Once the venue open its doors, it will host wide-ranging events which includes sporting showpieces, corporate events, cultural performances, concerts, and many other enchanting activities throughout the year.

Etihad Arena is part of Yas Bay, an iconic mixed-use development located on the southern end of Yas Island. Three distinct but integrated areas fall under the one million square meter Yas Bay areaYas Bay Waterfront, the 15,000 residences at Yas Bay and the new headquarters of TwoFour54, the media-free zone that operates from Khalifa Park. The Etihad Arena will be an intrinsic and iconic part of the Yas Bay Waterfront, which will also house the Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, a beach club as well as a pier that boasts 12 licensed cafes and restaurants, and 19 retail outlets.

Undoubtedly, Yas Island is the go-to entertainment destination in Abu Dhabi. It is unrivaled in the Emirate when it comes to holding concerts, live entertainment, theme parks and sporting events.

Work on the whole development began way back in 2017, and was reportedly 75 percent complete in October 2019. Apart from the arena, a pier, promenade, infinity pool, and even room for a metro will be the other highlights of the stunning venue.

Though the avant-garde venue will offer facilities similar to those available at the Coca Cola Arena in Dubai which opened its doors in 2019, officials say that they will not face the heat from Coca Cola Arena.

To buttress the claim, Jonathan Brown, Executive Director of Development at Miral, said not so long back, “There is currently no indoor facility that can cater for the array of events or the capacity [that is required in Yas Island].”

“We are going to have events throughout the year at the arena. Currently, the majority of the events are held outdoors so it limits the seasonal duration as to when they can be held,” he further explained.

John Lickrish, CEO of Flash Entertainment in Abu Dhabi, asserted that the company’s local and regional experience will make certain that it is able to attract events to the venue – “This will be a major driver of growth for the entertainment and cultural sector in Abu Dhabi.”

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