Real Madrid builds $1bn island resort in UAE
On 14 June, the Spanish Soccer club Real Madrid and the Government of Ras al-Khaimah presented plans to build a $1 billion US theme park in the United Arab Emirates under the Real Madrid brand. The proposed development will be located on an artificial island off the coast of the northern Emirate of Ras al Khaimah, one of the seven states of the UAE.
Plans for project, which is being designed by J+H Boiffils, include a theme park, yacht club and marina, exclusive villas, and a 450-room hotel anchored by a 10,000-seat stadium that will face the sea. Set to complete in January 2015, the 50-hectare facility is expected to attract an estimated one million visitors in its opening year and turn a profit within three years.
The facility will be the first sports-related theme park constructed on an artificial island and the first recreational tourism complex built under the Real Madrid trademark, which begs the question why Real Madrid and why the UAE. For Real, the move makes good financial sense. The club has around 300 million fans worldwide, half of which are based in Asia. With the UAE conveniently located between Europe and the Far East, it is less than four hours by flight of 2,000 million people.
“We want to turn this splendid part of the world into a place that serves to make people from different nationalities come together through the fascination for sport, for football and for Real Madrid, said the club’s president”, Florentino Perez during the announcement at the site on Thursday.