Special Olympics World Games delivers Dh1 billion to UAE economy

02 July 2019 Consultancy-me.com 3 min. read

The 2019 Abu Dhabi Special Olympics World Games has generated just shy of Dh1 billion in economic activity according to calculations from PwC – or around $260 million.

Held in the Middle East for the first time in its fifty-year history, the Abu Dhabi-hosted Special Olympics World Games 2019 has generated close to a Dh1 billion in economic output according to an impact assessment study conducted by professional services firm PwC. In addition, the firm has calculated that the event created almost 8,000 ‘job years’ and nearly 280 extra job years courtesy of the Local Organising Committee alone.

During March, Abu Dhabi according to committee figures welcomed more than 7,000 athletes from a record 200 countries, along with an estimated coaching and support entourage of 4,000 and in excess of half a million spectators – with more than 18,000 arriving from overseas for an average stay of ten days. 20,000 local and international volunteers also lent their support, including a 200-strong contingent from KPMG, the Official Supplier for the games.

“We are humbled and proud of the achievements that the UAE demonstrated through these findings,” said Mohamad Al Junaibi, Chairman of the Higher Committee. “Through these Games, we were able to send a message to the world that the UAE is capable of delivering a mega-event of an exceptional and global calibre. More importantly, we were able to showcase to the world the leadership’s commitment towards empowering people of determination.”

Special Olympics World Games delivers Dh1 billion to UAE economy

Adding to the Dh957 million in economic output (around US$260 million), which measures expenditure on goods and services generated by the Olympics World Games, the PwC analysis pointed to an extra Dh500m in GVA (gross value added) and Dh236 million worth of in-kind contributions through sponsorships and partnerships, along with some Dh254 million in media value impact for the Emirates and 6.7 billion social media impressions.

“The Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi have been a unique catalyst for the inclusion of People of Determination within the UAE society as well as globally,” said PwC Middle East partner and local Sovereign Investment Fund practice leader Laurent Depolla, who led the study. “The positive economic contribution from the event resulted from the new event delivery model demonstrated by the Local Organising Committee”.

As to the employment tally, the Local Organising Committee since its establishment in 2017 employed over 300 staff from nearly 50 nationalities in order to run the games, with a total of 279 full-time job years created in the two-year planning phase in the lead-up to the games. This is in addition to the close to 8,000 job years created in the array of supporting sectors. 90 per cent of the total procurement expenditure of the games was also spent on local suppliers.

Described as the world’s largest humanitarian sporting event, this year’s games were also somewhat of a leap forward from a technological perspective. In the build-up to event, data experts gathered from across the UAE, including representatives from McKinsey and SAP, gathered to lay down plans for how data analytics could be used to enhance operational performance, with the Games’ first ever digital management system ultimately implemented.