Dubai: In December 2012, a top official of the UAE’s National Olympic Committee confirmed Dubai will bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics as soon as the Government gives the go ahead. A YouGov poll, in the days following the announcement, examines the views of residents across the region and their thoughts about the possibility of the Summer Olympics coming to Dubai.
Overall, the findings are positive with 72% of all respondents agreeing it is a good idea for Dubai to host the Olympics (rising to 75% for UAE residents). The majority of respondents feel an Olympic Games held in Dubai will not only have a positive impact on the World’s perception of the Middle East (76%) and Dubai (80%) but also on the World’s perception of Muslims (67%).
The majority of respondents feel Dubai already has the capability to host the Olympics, especially in terms of infrastructure (78%) and expertise (68%). Three-quarters of respondents also agree Dubai is the safest place in the Middle East for the Olympics to be held. Nevertheless, an obvious concern about hosting a sporting event in Dubai is the summer heat and 39% of respondents feel it would be acceptable to postpone the Olympics until later in the year, compared to 35% who do not. However, amongst UAE residents, over two-thirds (69%) feel the games should be pushed to later in the year when the weather is cooler.
Respondents think the key benefit of hosting the Olympics in Dubai is that it will be a ‘boost to the UAE’s economy’. In addition, respondents feel the Olympics will increase tourism, community spirit and encourage participation in sports (at present 30% of respondents state they never participate in sports and 43% never attend live sports events). However, 69% of respondents watch sports on TV or online at least occasionally and more than two-thirds of respondents viewed the 2012 London Olympics (on TV or online).
Over half (52%) of respondents say they would be interested in attending the Olympics if they were held in Dubai, with 29% disagreeing. The majority (81%) agree hosting the Olympics in Dubai would make the event easily accessible to Middle East residents.
Other cities that have expressed an interest in bidding for the 2024 Olympics include Durban (South Africa), Casablanca (Morocco), Paris (France), Berlin (Germany) and Doha (Qatar). Qatar could be seen as a rival for bringing the Olympics to the Middle East, but when respondents are asked if Qatar or Dubai would do a better job of hosting the Olympics, 56% of Middle East respondents say Dubai, 13% state Qatar and 32% say there would be no difference.
Finally, it is encouraging to see how much optimism respondents across the region have, with 71% expressing the view that it is likely that Dubai will win the bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
The survey was conducted using the YouGov Online Panel and all questionnaires were completed between the 12th – 17th December 2012. The results are based on a total sample of 2,018 respondents (1,127 from the GCC (including 151 from UAE), 486 from North Africa and 455 from the Levant). The YouGov panel is broadly representative of the online populations within the region.