Ovesen’s Arena Vision

AEG Live Middle East managing director Thomas Ovesen has confirmed that his company will operate new arenas in the United Arab Emirates within three years.

“It’s just a reiteration of our interest in seeing arenas coming online in these markets,” Ovesen told Pollstar after The National – an Abu Dhabi-based, English-language daily – said AEG is trying to set up two “permanent entertainment arenas.”

Ovesen has openly discussed arenas in the UAE for a couple of years and expects a world-class venue to be built within the next two or three.

“I would like to think AEG will be operating such an arena as that would give all of us event organizers the best possible place to put shows,” he said. “AEG has made numerous statements confirming our interest in any serious and competitive Middle East project.”

Although The Emirates is a rapidly developing region, Ovesen is aware that many development projects never get off the ground.

At one time or another, all of the local promoters have cited a lack of venues as the local entertainment industry’s biggest problem.

Desert Rock, the 5-year-old festival produced by Jackie Wartanian’s Centre Stage Management, has had to change site every year.

The arena AEG built at Dubai Festival City’s car park for Kylie Minogue’s 2008 show reportedly cost US$60,000.

“We have five-star hotels and great production equipment but no facility. My vision is that the UAE will be the hub for entertainment for the entire region,” Ovesen told the National. “If you look at costs here, about 60 or 70 percent of the ticket price goes straight into building the facility.”

Ovesen, who has headed AEG Live Middle East since it was founded eight months ago, used the Madinat Arena – a trade and exhibition centre part of the Madinat Jumeirah hotel complex – for last month’s Simple Plan show.

AEG’s next major event in the UAE is Iron Maiden at Dubai Media Centre Feb. 13.