Dubai, one of the biggest urban centers in the world, attracts people for all sorts of purposes. Travelers come here on business due to its bustling financial district; to see some amazing tourist attractions or events related to world politics. In the last 2-3 decades, the city has also started drawing huge crowds because of its rapidly growing sporting culture. Some of the biggest and most famous sports tournaments are organised here, which are generously helping its tourist appeal. Many organisations, including the government-owned Dubai Conventions and Events Bureau list horse racing, lawn tennis, golf, cricket and football as being the most popular ones in the city.
Horse racing has always been popular in this place and its tournaments draw a huge number of visitors. Some plan holidays to here only to attend the Dubai World Cup, the richest horse racing championship in the world. With a prize money of around USD 10 million in store for the winner, the championship sees heavy participation from around the world. The attendances for individual races are also mind-boggling and most of the times, race courses are jam-packed. There are reports that for every individual race, up to 50000 excited spectators throng the 1-mile long grandstand of Meydan Racecourse, where the event is held.
The emirate is a great place to play tennis and whoever has done it so agrees. Dubai Duty Free is the biggest tennis championship of the city, and it is so well-organised that it has won the ATP World Tour 500 Award 11 times. As per the official website of the championship, more than 115000 tennis enthusiasts attended the event in 2014. In 2013 too, over 100000 spectators flocked to the tennis complex to watch their favorite stars battle it out.
The sport received a boost in popularity here since the Pakistan cricket team started playing their home matches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). If an international cricket match is being played in the city while visitors are here during their holiday tours, they may attend it. It would be fun to be a part of the enthusiastic crowd and engage in sporting frenzy with them. The most significant venue for the sport here has a capacity of 25000, approximately. As per the website of Cricket Australia, the Twenty 20 clash between Pakistan and Australia on October 5th 2014 saw the Dubai International Cricket Stadium packed to capacity. The stadium saw similar crowds during the first stage of the 2014 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which was held in the UAE. As per the website of The National, a leading English language newspaper in the Middle East, more than 125000 tickets were booked for five IPL matches at the venue.
Though introduced only recently, it is becoming an important part of the sporting community of the emirate. Trips can be taken to the city between September and May as in this period, many tournaments are organised here due to the favourable weather. The Dubai Desert Classic tournament is played at the Emirates Golf Club between January and February. Part of the European PGA Tour, it is the most famous golfing event here. As per its official website, the 2015 edition of the championship saw a good attendance of 38165. The other significant tournament here is the DP World Tour Championship, which is held at the Earth Golf Course in November.
Not just the attendance, but the golf participation in the city is also witnessing a steady rise. The official publication of Golf Club Managers Association, a British organisation, reports that in March 2012, over 3300 rounds of golf were played at the Majlis course. The CEO of the firm looking after the Emirates and Dubai Creek and Yacht golf clubs said that as of January 2015, more than 400 kids had enrolled at their academies.
As per a government website, football is held in the highest of regards in the city. The UAE Pro League and Challenge Cup are the two most popular football championships that can be attended while on vacations here. While the former tournament stretches on from September to May, the latter is generally organised in December. The Challenge Cup is a series of friendly ties between various international clubs. The website of Dubai Eye 103.8, a local radio talk show, mentions that the 2014 clash between Manchester City F.C and AC Milan F.C at the Rugby Sevens Stadium here was a sell out event. In the recent past, the English Premier League became so popular that a Dubai-based businessman bought the Manchester City FC. Students are also actively participating in the sport and the second edition of the Dubai Schools Football Cup will see participation by 125 teams totalling about 2000 individuals.