The UAE will soon host the world’s first UEFA Champions League Experience, an immersive concept store and fast-casual dining destination showcasing the very best of the Competition, Marka PJSC (DFM: MARKA) and UEFA announced today.
UEFA and Marka, the first public joint stock company in the UAE to focus on the fast-growing retail market, said the first UEFA Champions League Experience will open in Yas Mall on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. The inaugural store, designed as a dynamic stage at which to experience the thrill and rush of the Champions League is scheduled to open in May 2015 with plans confirmed for expansion across the Middle East from 2015 and beyond.
Khaled Almheiri, vice-chairman of Marka, said: “The UEFA Champions League is the most popular club football competition in the world and enjoys a cult following across the Middle East. The UEFA Champions League Experience will be the ideal destination for all football fans to come and enjoy the best of European football and their favorite teams—under one roof. Marka is delighted to be partnering with UEFA to bring the UEFA Champions League Experience first to the UAE and then to the wider region.”
Inspired by the atmosphere, energy and passion of UEFA Champions League football, the 17,000-square-foot destination retail concept will feature a unique combined retail and restaurant offering. Fans will be able to purchase merchandise from top teams including Real Madrid CF, FC Bayern München, FC Barcelona, and Chelsea FC, from dedicated shop-in-shops. Memorabilia signed by football legends such as Lionel Messi, Steven Gerrard and Cristiano Ronaldo will be on display and available for purchase, complete with a museum where fans can learn more about their favorite teams and players. A wide range of official UEFA Champions League licensed products will also be available.
Guy-Laurent Epstein, Marketing Director of UEFA Events SA, commented: “We are very pleased to announce this exciting new concept, where for the first time in the Middle East, fans will be able to gather and enjoy the best of what the UEFA Champions League stands for and represents. We are glad to offer our fans this exciting, innovative concept and look forward to launching the first of many stores in association with Marka.”
The UEFA Champions League Experience will feature a fast-casual dining restaurant where patrons will enjoy signature dishes served in a stadium-inspired setting designed to replicate the atmosphere of the UEFA Champions League, whilst watching live matches as well as archive footage of standout games and highlights on giant screens.
Mr. Almheiri added: “Marka was launched with the vision to be the premier retail operator in the GCC. Our exclusive partnership with UEFA is in line with the ambitious, multifaceted growth strategy we are implementing aimed at generating long-term value for our shareholders.”
Nick Peel, Chief Executive Officer of Marka, said “We recently announced that Marka is targeting the fast growing sports retail segment, and I am pleased to confirm that following the Abu Dhabi store we are now also in discussions to open a flagship UEFA Champions League Experience location in Dubai, with an anticipated opening in late 2015.”
We are confident that the UEFA Champions League Experience will become a must-visit destination for all football lovers in the region and beyond. There are many exciting plans in the works – we encourage fans to stay tuned.”
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