Steven Bainbridge says the region was in good standing to make an inaugural Olympics bid before long.
Dubai is in a strong position to make a bid for the Olympic Games in the coming years, according to one of the region’s top sports lawyers.
Steven Bainbridge, Head of Sports Law at the Middle East’s largest law firm Al Tamami & Company, said the region was in good standing to make an inaugural Olympics bid before long — especially given Dubai’s successful World Expo 2020 bid and Qatar hosting the Football World Cup in 2022.
“That’s the elephant in the room. In terms of sports, the World Cup is massive and that’s coming to the region … but I think at some point there will be an Olympic bid in the region … (Dubai) is the natural choice.”
The Doha-based lawyer, who has previously worked as General Counsel for Yas Marina Circuit, said the World Cup and World Expo would be testers for an Olympic bid.
“It’s a continuum of events. If I had to pick anywhere in the world to run an innovative, exciting Olympics, you could do a lot worse than picking somewhere like Dubai.”
But many things would be required to arrange a successful bid, including looking at shifting the timing to the winter months.
“Infrastructure is a big issue but I think all of these elements would be here or will have been ready to be established in a short time.”
Bainbridge also said with the huge increase in all aspects of sports involvement, especially in the Europe, Middle East and Africa market (EMEA) where revenues have grown 4.6 per cent largely due to sponsorship, companies were understanding the importance of sports sponsorship.
Emirates Airlines were probably the most prolific sports sponsors in the globe which had helped greatly with their brand recognition, he said.
“I can’t think of anyone with a pulse who isn’t aware of Emirates and certainly there’s an element of energy and vibrancy attached to that brand which I think in some respects is linked with sporting sponsorship.”
Smaller companies were also following suit in a big way, he said.
“In the market, I’m actually more encouraged by the small companies that don’t have millions to spend saying: ‘Actually, it’s better for us to spend 100,000, let’s do that’. They see the benefits that others are getting.”