Yas Island: Formula 1, UFC, NBA, Football… When Sport Comes to Abu Dhabi

Although the final Formula 1 Grand Prix of the season will be held there this weekend, Abu Dhabi has become one of the main theaters of international sport, as evidenced by the latest events that took place there.

If the football World Cup is being held 300 kilometers opposite, in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates will not be spared when it comes to sports. Of course, in Abu Dhabi and more specifically on Yas Island (Yas Island in English), there have been many competitions for some time.

“Abu Dhabi has a proven track record of hosting major sporting events such as the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix, HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, Indian Premier League, ITU World Triathlon, FINA World Championships, UFC and more. NBA. Its strength: A destination that offers state-of-the-art venues to host premier events such as the Middle East’s largest indoor arena, the Etihad Arena and the iconic Yas Marina Circuit, which hosts the climax of each season. F1 calendar”, Abdullah Youssef, Director of Trade Development and Travel Markets at DTC Abu Dhabi, explained to CNEWS.

Also, after hosting the NBA in October, Abu Dhabi in November has the opportunity to be at the heart of 2 major world sporting events later this year: the F1 Grand Prix and the World of Soccer.

Formula 1

Last year, if the title was played at the Yas Marina circuit between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, the titles have already been played for, but there will be more to follow. The Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place this week from November 17th to 20th. Of course, there will be a party for the conclusion of the F1 2022 World Championship. At the event, many international artists will take part, such as Usher, EDM trio Swedish House Mafia or Grammy winner Kendrick Lamar.

FIFA World Cup

With the World Cup (November 20-December 18) taking place in nearby Qatar, Abu Dhabi will be very active during this period. Fans will be welcomed to visit the area with a fanzone that can accommodate 2,000 people daily. Many activities will be set up there (FIFA 23 tournaments, live streaming of matches, food trucks, etc.).

Note that many supporters will remain in the United Arab Emirates during this period. Several daily flights are scheduled to connect Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.


A few weeks ago, the UFC settled in Yas Island again for the highly anticipated event UFC 280, including an incredible main event win by Islam Makhachev against Charles Oliveira at the Etihad Arena. The popular American MMA league, especially since covid, has made a habit of settling in the emirate. At the time, a health bubble was even created with “Fight Island”. It made it possible to continue evenings that had become impossible in America.

“We believe that UFC Fight Island will allow us to showcase Abu Dhabi’s great potential and underline our willingness to host events and visitors as soon as possible with proper security measures in place,” Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Abu Dhabi Executive Director of Marketing and Tourism, told CNEWS some time ago.

In the wake of UFC 280, a boxing match between Dimitri Bivol and Gilberto ‘Surdo’ Ramirez took place at the Etihad Arena on November 5.


Photo Credit: SUSA / Icon Sport


In early October, it was the big event in Abu Dhabi with the first NBA games (pre-season) in the tiny emirate. The program includes two games between Atlanta and Milwaukee and the presence of legends such as Ambassador Shaquille O’Neal. Repeated success for years to come.

“We are very happy. We have been trying to organize this event for some time. The process was long, but the result exceeded our expectations. Even better. We had wanted to settle in the Middle East for years. Abu Dhabi proved to be a perfect fit for the program. It was a really big win,” said NBA Europe and Middle East General Manager Ralph Riviera.

“It is an honor to host the first NBA Abu Dhabi Games,” said Abdullah Youssef, Director of Business Development and Travel Markets at DTC Abu Dhabi. The organization of the Games attests to Abu Dhabi’s status as a global tourism destination with a diverse offering of culture, sports, nature activities, leisure and entertainment. We are delighted to welcome basketball fans from around the world to attend the games and experience for themselves the wide range of experiences possible when traveling to Abu Dhabi. (…) Thanks to this partnership, we have been able to share with the world what makes Abu Dhabi so special. Earlier in the year, the Junior NBA Abu Dhabi League was also a great success and we are proud to once again offer such a rich and interactive program at the NBA District in Manarat Al Saadiyat.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *