Nine out of ten UAE residents want to host Olympics

Sport360 staff 11:24 31/08/2016
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The UAE team at the Rio 2016 opening ceremony.

Fresh YouGov research in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games shows that nine in ten UAE residents are keen to host the Games in their country, with all age groups and nationalities equally highly in favour.

The study, conducted among over 1,000 residents in the past week, also showed residents’ enthusiasm to collaborate with other nations in the region with 82% stating they would be interested in jointly hosting the Games with other GCC countries.

The main driving force behind the poll participants’ interest to host is to increase the country’s presence on the global stage, with 63% claiming their primary reason would be to improve the nation’s global image. In addition, residents believe a UAE Games would boost tourism and the economy (both 59%), while 54% also claim it would increase sports participation. A further 51% thought it would generate community spirit and pride in the UAE.

That said, amongst residents who do not want to host the Games (10%), the most prevalent reason was due to the hot summer climate (42%). One third of the polled residents also believe the event would be too expensive, whilst two in five believe participation at grass roots level for sports could be further improved.

Four eye-catching findings

  • 78% of residents in the poll followed the Games, 42% did closely
  • Two-thirds claimed the Rio Olympics inspired them to be more physically active
  • Half claimed they are more likely to visit Brazil
  • 57% said they are more likely to try a new sport

“The findings clearly demonstrate residents’ positive affinity with a UAE Games,” said YouGov’s MENA managing director, Kailash Nagdev.

“Following a feasibility study conducted for the 2020 Olympics concluding that over 70% of the infrastructure required for the Games is ready or planned in the country, irrespective of an Olympic bid, the UAE is well on track to have fantastic infrastructure to host an Olympics.

“With Dubai also hosting the World Expo in 2020, the country’s ability to host large scale events will be second to none. That, together with a longer term plan for grass roots sports development, could mean a UAE Olympic bid will become a reality.”

The study also saw that 78% of those asked followed the Rio Olympic Games, with just over two-fifths following it closely (42%). Male respondents followed the Games more closely than females (47% v 32%) and Emirati’s followed it the most closely across all nationality groups (49%).

Three-quarters of the residents agreed the Games were a success, while six in ten were proud of the athletes’ performance from their home nation, with females showing more patriotic pride than males (62% versus 57%).

Two-thirds of the poll claimed the Rio Olympics inspired them to become more physically active overall, with males more inspired than females (68% v 59% respectively). Those aged 30-39 years were inspired even more (70%).

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