How to setup a Sports related Business in the UAE?

Introduction to the Industry

The United Arab Emirates has defined itself to be a sought-after worldwide sporting event destination, and the country’s sports sector is expected to develop steadily in the future.UAE’s reputation in sports has risen in recent years because of strong government backing and rising commercial awareness.

The Dubai sports industry is one of the fast-growing industries in the UAE generating over 1.76 Billion dollars a year making it one of the global sporting destinations. Abu Dhabi sports industry generated over $545 Million from various events and other activities in 2017. The country has hosted an increasing number of major events in recent years, including the yearly Dubai Desert Classic, the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix, and the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championship.

The government of the Middle East has been engaged in attempts to diversify their economies with ambitious sports industry plans away from natural resources and social cohesion, stating that more than $65 billion has been spent by GCC members, including Saudi Arabia and UAE, on sports development in 2020.

Recent trends and developments

E-sports is also rapidly becoming one of the fastest-growing sports categories. At the middle of the Covid-19 lockdown, e-sports usage skyrocketed, tripling the number of hours watched. The action, shooter, and fantasy genres all saw a 50% increase. In 2020, the E-sports market in the UAE has surpassed $300 million in revenue.As more and more people became aware and conscious of their health and fitness, the growth of the sportswear market in the UAE has increased.

The Sports Federations Governance Guide, was developed by the GAS (General Authority of Sports) and the Olympic Committee of UAE in Jun 2021. This is the first of its type in the Middle East and a watershed moment in the growth of the local sports industry. The new guide lays out a model for sports federations to structure to support the growth of various sports, laying the groundwork for an athletic environment and community capable of achieving local and worldwide success.

Digital transformations has brought fans closer. The digital fan experience is a major focus for sports executives in the Middle East, particularly in the UAE. Few organizations, however, have been able to offer it in a way that allows them to attract and maintain fans over time indicating an open space for disruption.

Sports Infrastructure in the UAE

The UAE has successfully constructed world-class infrastructure amenities for all businesses because of the successful effort to diversify the autonomous economy, supported by outstanding administrative acumen. Tourists, firms, and international sporting federations have all been drawn in by this. The UAE is a viable hosting possibility for many major athletic events due to its extensive geographical resources, financial sustainability of hosting, vast resources, and organizing expertise.

Today, the UAE organizes numerous important international events, the country offers the greatest facilities for Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, including cricket/football stadiums, horse clubs as well as tennis courts, racetracks, and the circuit.

Cricket and Football are extremely popular in the country. The UAE hosted the first leg of 2021 Indian Premier League, which had to move out of India due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The country also hosted the AFC Asian cup in 2019.

To encourage people to participate in sports, the UAE government has created free-zone sports towns and complexes. Sports cities are mixed-use developments that include stadiums, sports clubs, training academies, commercial spaces, residential areas among other amenities. The following are the UAE’s sports free zones:

  • Dubai sports city : The Dubai International Stadium, located in Dubai Sports City, has a capacity of 25,000 people. Dubai Sports City has facilities for football, golf, cricket, and other sports.
  • Zayed sports city : Basketball, billiards, football, paintball, and other sports are all practiced in Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi.
  • Dubai Motor city : F1 circuit and Audrome are included in the Dubai motor city.
  • Hamdan sports complex : The Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai includes two swimming pools with innovative movable floor technology that allows the pools to be opened in half their original length. The competitive arena at Hamdan Sports Complex can accommodate 15,000 spectators.

Sports activities covered under DED

Some of the sports activities covered under the DED Dubai are the following Sports Goods Manufacturing Personal requisites manufacturing Industrial Sports Events Marketing Other professional services Professional

Sports Medicine Center Clinic Medical Clinic Professional Auditoriums & Sports Venues Seats Manufacturing Manufacturing of wood, wood products, and Furniture Industrial

Sports Wears Manufacturing Manufacturing of garments and rugs Industrial
Water Sports Training Services Sport Club Professional
Sports Wear Trading Sports equipment trading Commercial
Sports & Recreational Club Sport Club Professional
Sports & Amusement Tracks Recreation halls Professional
Sports Goods Manufacturing Personal requisites manufacturing Industrial
Watersports Equipment Rental Sports equipment rental Professional
Sports Clubs Security Guard Services Building surveillance, surveillance, and cleaning services Professional
Sports Services Exhibition organizers Professional
Sports Events Marketing Other professional services Professional
Sports Exhibitions Organizing Exhibition organizers Professional
Sports Fields &halls Equipment Trading Mechanical & engineering equipment trading Commercial
Sports Medicine Center Clinic Medical Clinic Professional
Sports Agent Sport Club Professional
Auditoriums & Sports Venues Seats Manufacturing Manufacturing of wood, wood products, and Furniture Industrial

Government support for the sports industry

Through policies and funding, the government plays a critical role in promoting and growing sport in the UAE.

Authorities responsible for sports-related activities

The MoYS (Ministry of Youth and Sports) aspires to be a leader in creating a good, appealing environment in which young people may develop their physical and mental talents, make use of their spare time, and increase their creative ability.

Its responsibilities include carrying out the government’s sports strategy, spreading the culture of sports as a way of life to prevent diseases and promote fitness, and representing the finest athletes at regional and worldwide sporting competitions. MoYS is supported by councils from Dubai, Abu-Dhabi, and Sharjah. Furthermore, there are local sports councils that strive to establish an atmosphere that promotes the significance of sports practice and sports programs that fulfill the needs of society.

Government Initiatives

UAE has launched UAE Sports Strategy 2032 in Jun 2021.

It represents the UAE Olympic Committee’s ambitious national goal for a sports community worthy of global achievement. The vision is supported by three key transformative themes: mass involvement, high performance, and the sports ecosystem, which are represented by 54 strategic projects.

Mass involvement consists of several programs aimed at increasing sports participation by 65 percent. The High-performance theme makes sure that more than 20 athletics participate in the Olympics by the next 11 years. The ecosystem theme aims at increasing the contribution of the sports sector to the UAE’s GDP.

Digital platform for different sports federations: The strategy of 2032 would provide federations access to digital services that may help revolutionize the sports industry, create trustworthy sports-related data, and encourage the adoption of cutting-edge technology. It gives all sports federations access to a single platform, which boosts efficiency.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

How to set up sports related business in the UAE

The sporting industry is growing in the UAE. If you are looking to establish your company in the UAE, the following are the steps.

  • Select the business activity : Though business is in the sports industry, it is important to look at the sub-sector, the entrepreneur is interested in. It can be sports goods manufacturing, sportswear, sports tech, etc. Conducting a thorough feasibility and profitability study is important.
  • Selecting the jurisdiction : Once the sports activity is selected, the next step is to understand in which jurisdiction does the entrepreneur wanted to start their business. It can be Free zones or Mainland. Each of the jurisdictions has its laws and regulations. Select a jurisdiction based on the business requirements.
  • Decide the organization structure : The legal form of the business needs to be decided before starting the business. It sets a tone on how to deal with loss and profit and how the assets and resources are handled and managed.
  • Choosing a name for the start-up : Naming the start-up business is the next step. There are a few points to remember at this point.Be advised that name conventions must be followed strictly by entrepreneurs. They must refrain from using rude or profane words. Avoid using the names of a well-known organization.
  • Apply for License : The entrepreneur can apply for a trade license once they have determined where they will set up an office. If they are establishing a business on the mainland, they must apply to the DED or a local in another emirate. Entrepreneurs can also submit their applications to a free zone directly. They should engage with a firm setup specialist who can manage their application in both instances.
  • Making the visa application : To live and work in the UAE, entrepreneurs will require a visa. The visa application procedure can be extremely simple with the right guidance. Most firms formation agencies can assist with both this and the licensing application. The maximum number of visas the entrepreneurs may apply for is determined by the size of the business, the structure, and, in the case of dependent visas, the entrepreneur’s earnings.
  • Opening a bank account : For a business, it is important to have a cooperate bank account.Entrepreneurs should familiarize themselves with a variety of financial institutions to choose which one is most suited to their business demands and most likely to provide business banking services. Important things to be kept in mind :
    • Some banks may demand that shareholders have a valid visa.
    • An entrepreneur must have a UAE firm license for a business bank account.
    • A minimum balance of AED 10,000 to AED 150,000 maybe required for most accounts.
    • RAG experts can help you set up your bank account.

For a sport-related business cost, the license is not the only expense. There are several other factors such as employees, factory premises, administration & marketing costs which needs to be considered. The license costs also vary depending on the type of activity.


The UAE authorities along with the private sector is pushing reforms in the sporting sector. The market is ready to disrupt with innovative ideas. It is important to note that UAE is the one of the most important gateway to GCC and the rest of Middle East. If you are looking to establish your business in UAE, we at RAG can help you navigate the entire process with complete market understanding. RAG Global Business Hub understands that building UAE as a Nation of Entrepreneurs is the way to realize its Economic Vision and continue its impeccable growth story. Towards this end, RAG Global Business Hub is committed to launching Entrepreneurs, one person, at a time. RAG is in the business of setting up new companies and helping the existing ones to grow exponentially. We do it by getting business licenses for Entrepreneurs, providing economical office spaces, conducting market research, and liaising with Government authorities through the PRO and allied services. Get free consultation – call Toll Free number 800724249 or write to to know how our team consisting of consultants from the World Economic Forum and our international partners Stratagem Partners, Brexit Partners can help you set up, grow and scale.

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