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PFL fighters in action in New York. PFL Middle East organisers hope to attract more investment from the region

Saudi-backed martial arts league aims for $1bn business

The Middle East arm of the Professional Fighters League will be a billion-dollar entity within the next decade, according to its founder. Mixed martial arts (MMA) organisation PFL Middle East is set to launch in the second quarter of 2024, spurred by a reported $100 million cash injection from Saudi Arabia’s SRJ Sports Investments. It […]

The Wynn resort and casino is set to open in 2027 on Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Kahaimah

Lottoland boss hails UAE move to set up gaming regulator

The entrepreneur behind the global lottery betting platform Lottoland has described the UAE’s new gaming regulatory authority as “big news”. David von Rosen-von Hoewel told AGBI that he looks forward to working with authorities to roll out lottery products in the UAE next year and beyond. “The UAE now has the chance to build the […]

Turkish cinema

Animated film helps revive Turkish cinema

An animated film about children who help aliens stranded on Earth return to their home planet has helped revive the Turkish cinema industry after it slumped during the Covid lockdown. Rafadan Tayfa: Galaktik Tayfa, the third in a series of films spun off from a popular Turkish children’s TV show, has earned $6.7 million so […]

Mashrex's hip hop line-up has got over 385,000 subscribers on its YouTube channel

US music company taps into Saudi hip hop with new deal

Abu Dhabi’s PopArabia and Nasdaq-listed Reservoir Media have bought some of the song catalogue of Saudi Arabian hip hop label Mashrex, and will jointly release new music through the specialist label. In a similar deal last September, PopArabia and Reservoir Media acquired Lebanon’s Voice of Beirut. The US company says it aims to become the […]

Reliance Retail Ventures owner Mukesh Ambani has a reputation for disrupting rivals in the price-sensitive Indian market with cheap offers

India’s JioCinema in pricing fight with Netflix and Disney

Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s streaming platform JioCinema announced premium pricing of INR999 ($12) a year, its first step to move away from a free content model to fight global rivals such as Netflix and Disney in the country. The move comes weeks after Reliance’s Viacom18 struck a content deal with Warner Bros, that will make […]

Large screens and rumble seats enchant moviegoers

Jason Stark’s two young sons talked excitedly for months about seeing the “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”. When the film debuted this month, he decided to make the experience a special outing. Stark took a day off from work and drove his boys, ages nine and six, about a half-hour from their Connecticut home to […]

Woman, Adult, Female, Male

UK companies set their sights on $22bn Saudi events sector

Major UK firms are targeting the Saudi events sector for growth as the Gulf kingdom continues to build its reputation as a global destination. Saudi’s Ministry of Investment recently welcomed a delegation of 25 British sports events companies to explore investment opportunities. The ministry, together with the Ministry of Sports, signed cooperation agreements with ES […]

An exterior view Wynn hotel-casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.

UAE’s first casino resort in Ras Al Khaimah appoints builder

Construction preparation work has begun on the UAE’s first casino resort project, it was confirmed on Wednesday. Wynn Resorts, which is based in Las Vegas, announced plans last year to build a casino within its multi-billion-dollar resort on Ras Al Khaimah’s Marjan Island. Set to open its doors in early 2027, the development will be […]

People, Person, Adult

When brands go geek: The business of Comic Con

As the Middle East Film and Comic Con, the largest popular culture festival in the region, takes place this weekend, it is not just cosplay and comic fans who will be in attendance. This year big brands are upping their pop culture marketing in a bid to stay relevant to the region’s growing young geek […]

Record surge in films at Berlin festival marks post-Covid revival

This year’s Berlin International Film Festival marks a resurgence for the global film industry after years in the doldrums due to the Covid-19 pandemic, industry expert Scott Roxborough said on the eve of the event. While the stars who will appear on the red carpet this year – including China’s Fan Bingbing, Sean Penn, Steven […]

Person, Woman, Adult
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Fever meets growing demand for live entertainment in Gulf

Fever, the live entertainment platform, is planning to expand across the Middle East after making its debut in Dubai. The company, headquartered in New York, is targeting growth in the region after raising $227 million in a funding round led by Goldman Sachs last year. It reached unicorn status with a billion-dollar valuation. Rachid Laurent […]

UAE’s centre stage in Bollywood blockbusters

The UAE is set to become a major post-production and financing hub for the Bollywood film industry. Acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur told AGBI: “Infrastructure for filmmaking is coming up in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and more Indian filmmakers will come to the UAE to make their films. There are very good studio facilities in Dubai […]

man, stage, clapping

Bollywood filmmaker trains camera on Gulf locations

Shekhar Kapur, the filmmaker behind Elizabeth and Bandit Queen, has partly “shifted base” to Dubai and is scouting locations in the Gulf for future projects. The Indian director, who attended the Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah last December, told AGBI that the nascent film industries of Saudi Arabia and the UAE had huge potential […]

Esports and gaming is big business across the world

Egyptian gaming startup acquires Tunisian rival Galactech

Egyptian startup GBarena, an esports platform operating across the Middle East, has acquired Tunisian rival Galactech in a share swap valued at $15 million. The deal comes as GBarena prepares to close its Series A funding later this year, with participation from investors in the US, Singapore and the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) […]


Dubai startup aims to disrupt Mena theme park sector

Traditional, ride-based theme parks are being challenged by Dubai-based startup HyperSpace’s “physical parks for a digital world”, including AYA and House of Hype.  HyperSpace opened the 40,000sq ft AYA, a digitally immersive experience park with interactive gardens, observatories and other spaces in Dubai’s Wafi Mall in December, bringing a metaverse dimension to the emirate’s entertainment […]

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi sets up fund targeting global events sector

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has launched a fund that aims to position the kingdom as a global hub for cultural, tourism, entertainment and sports events. The Events Investment Fund (EIF) will conceptualise, finance and oversee the development of more than 35 venues by 2030, diversifying the Saudi economy and “increasing its share of […]

MassiveMusic worked with Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority to capture authentic sounds of the city

MassiveMusic is making some noise with Middle East move

“Sonic branding” is not a term many people outside the marketing industry are familiar with, especially in the Gulf region. But they may become more so, as companies increasingly adopt music strategies to reach their customers.     “We know the effect that successful music can have on communication, and it is fast becoming a point of […]

Book, Publication, Hotel

Wizarding World of Harry Potter to be built at UAE’s Yas Island

Abu Dhabi-based Miral and Warner Bros. Discovery are to build a Harry Potter-themed land within the Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi on Yas Island, the companies said in a joint statement. “The original Harry Potter stories and the blockbuster film series continue to captivate and inspire hundreds of millions of fans around the world,” Pam Lifford, president, […]

Sony unit takes stake in Gulf concert promoter

The founders of an agency that has played a central part in revolutionising entertainment in the Gulf said on Thursday that a tie-up with New York-based Sony Masterworks will buy the operation time and space to expand and invest.  Sony has acquired 55 percent of Mac Global for an undisclosed sum, Daniel Goldberg, one of […]