9 in 10 UAE residents want to host the Olympic Games
August 30th, 2016, YouGov

9 in 10 UAE residents want to host the Olympic Games

Fresh research immediately following the 2016 Rio Olympic Games reveals that 9 in 10 UAE residents are keen to host the Games in their country, with all age groups and nationalities equally highly in favour.

The study, conducted amongst over 1,000 residents in the past week, also shows residents’ enthusiasm to collaborate with other nations to host one of the greatest sporting events on earth with 82% stating they would be interested to jointly host the Games with other GCC nations.

The main driving force behind residents’ interest to host is to improve 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%). Meanwhile a healthy 54% also claim it would increase sports participation and 51% claim 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 is due to the hot summer climate (42%). In addition one third believe the event would be too expensive, whilst two in five believe participation at grass roots level for sports could be further improved.

This year 78% of UAE residents 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%).

Residents stayed tuned into the sporting action via TV coverage and TV highlights the most (both 27%). Watching live TV coverage from home was more favoured by the older generation aged 40+ (34%), as opposed to just 2 in 10 respondents aged 18-29 years.

Residents also favored social media to keep track of the Olympic coverage. 23% watched video clips on YouTube and a fifth followed coverage on Facebook. Both YouTube and Facebook were more commonly used by those aged under 40.

When considering the impact of the Rio Olympics, three-quarters of UAE residents agreed the Games were a success. Six in ten are proud of the athletes’ performance from their home nation, with females showing more patriotic pride than males (62% versus 57%).

Two-thirds of UAE residents 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%).

As a result of the Games, 69% of UAE residents think they are more likely to focus on their own fitness, this sentiment was highest amongst Arab expats (77%). Overall, 57% claim they are more likely to try a new sport that they followed at the Games, which was particularly the case amongst Emiratis (69%).

Interestingly half of UAE residents claim they are more likely to visit Rio de Janeiro or Brazil as a result of the Games staged in Rio. This sentiment is higher amongst males (53%).

Commenting on the research, YouGov’s MENA Managing Director, Kailash Nagdev said, "The findings clearly demonstrate residents’ positive affinity with a UAE Games. 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.”

Data collected amongst 1,006 UAE residents between 22 and 29 August 2016 from the YouGov online panel. Data is broadly representative of the adult online population in the UAE.