Insofar as major international sporting events are concerned, only the Olympic Games could potentially match the popularity of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, successfully hosted by Qatar and already hailed as one of the greatest football tournaments ever. But while the dust may now be settling on that magnificent competition, the Middle East will remain firmly under the glare of international attention.
Over the coming months and looking further ahead, several countries across the Middle East will be hosting more spectacular sporting events, ready to continue welcoming millions of visitors from around the globe. This will undoubtedly make 2023 another amazing year for the region, which continues to increase its profile internationally, attracting elite world-class sports with magnificent venues and hospitality.
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International League T20 Cricket
Ever since the shorter 20-overs game was introduced, this cricket format has enjoyed remarkable growth and popularity, leading to numerous countries around the world hosting top level competitions. Keen to establish their own foothold on the map, the United Arab Emirates will be hosting the inaugural International League T20, with the first edition scheduled to run from 13 January to 12 February 2023.
Six teams will be participating: Abu Dhabi Knight Riders, Desert Vipers, Dubai Capitals, Gulf Giants, MI Emirates, and Sharjah Warriors. Making this all the more intriguing and aside from local investment, key franchise owners from the Indian Premier League (IPL) are also involved with teams. This had led to widespread appeal for the debuting competition, especially amongst famous players who are keen to feature.
Duel of Wealthy Horse Races
Getting ready to host its fourth edition at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the upcoming Saudi Cup 2023 will boast an incredible prize fund. Indeed, this February feature has become the richest horse race anywhere in the world, thanks to a gigantic purse on offer worth $20 million USD, with $10 million is awarded to the winner. Having quickly gained prestige, the headline race now has Grade 1 status.
Just four weeks before the Saudi Cup and first held back in 1996, the Dubai World Cup will be held at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, ensuring the United Araba Emirates remains one of the top horse racing venues. As part of a nine-week carnival programme starting on 6 January, the headline race offers is scheduled to be held on 25 March, offering an eye-catching purse worth $12 million USD for participants.
High Speed Formula One Pursuits
No sooner than reaching the conclusion of one memorable F1 season, fans are already looking forward to the next, and even more so as teams begin to launch their cars for the 2023 campaign. The full official F1 Schedule 2023 is also available, extended for the upcoming year to coincidentally feature twenty-three races, four of which will be hosted in the Middle East.
Proudly opening the 2023 campaign will be the Bahrain Grand Prix on 5 March in Sakhir, immediately followed by the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on 19 March in Jeddah. As the subsequent races travel to the other famed circuits around the world, the Qatar Grand Prix returns for the first time since 2021, scheduled for 8 October. The conclusion to the F1 2023 season will be the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, at the famed Yas Marina Circuit on 26 November.
Major Sporting Hub
One thing has become increasingly clear over the last decade, which is the passion and appetite for major sports across the whole Middle East. Throughout the entirety of 2023, the range of different elite sporting events being hosted is joyful to behold, showcasing everything that fans could possibly imagine. This region continues to inspire and innovate, investing heavily to firmly establish itself as one of the greatest sporting hubs on the planet.