Dubai rolls out welcome to events of the future at Host Cities Forum

Conference cements emirate’s credentials as global events hub

Dubai “is alive with a variety of astonishing events,” said His Excellency Issam Kazim, CEO of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, at the opening of the 2014 Host Cities Summit, and his words proved true as a flurry of exclusive announcements sparked the first day of the conference into life.

The majority of announcements revolved around the real-life fairytale of Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, winners and stars of India’s Million Dollar Arm. It is a reality talent contest looking for potential Indian stars to become Major League baseball players in America. The story has recently been made into a Hollywood movie starring Mad Men actor Jon Hamm.

‘Dubai is alive with a variety of astonishing events’

HE Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing

Hamm plays JB Bernstein, former agent to baseball legend Barry Bonds and co-creator of the Million Dollar Arm concept, who announced at the summit that they will be making a third edition of the show as well as a Bollywood movie and launching an exciting new franchise, Million Dollar Bat – a reversal of the premise that looks to find a US baseball talent who can become a star of Indian Premier league cricket.

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International delegates attended a host of workshops and question-and-answer sessions exploring the fundamentals of hosting global mega events

“Where better to launch The Million Dollar Bat than Dubai, a visionary city connecting east and west and where major events are linked to grassroots programmes to boost participation in new sports… When we began everyone told me it was the worst idea they’d ever heard and it became a Hollywood fairytale… I’m confident we’ll find ourselves a US-born IPL star,” said Bernstein.

‘Where better to launch The Million Dollar Bat than Dubai, a visionary city connecting east and west and where major events are linked to grassroots programmes to boost participation in new sports’

JB Bernstein

In the first panel of the day, His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council, announced that Dubai will look to bid for the Beach Soccer World Cup 2018 and that the desire to consider a future Olympic bid was still very much alive.

“I’m sure there is a plan for that in the future. After 2020 [when Dubai hosts World Expo], there is a chance. From an infrastructure perspective, we are ready anytime. From a technical perspective it will not be difficult to deliver when it is needed.”

The summit also included a host of workshops where delegates from all parts of the world were able to question speakers and research all aspects of what it takes to host mega events, from the bid process through to the required infrastructure, changes in image perception and legacy such events can bring.