New data released exclusively to Sport Industry Insider by YouGov Sport (SMG Insight) reveals that Formula 1 has replaced the FIFA Club World Cup on the list of the favourite sporting conversations in the UAE.
The company’s SportsIndex service, which tracks UAE opinions on 50 sports events and leagues every day, reveals that more people are talking about Formula 1 than FIFA’s premier club competition – and have been since the beginning of December.
The data also shows that, given the choice, more people in the country would now consider attending Formula 1 than they would the Club World Cup – although experts expect that to change as the tournament gets into full swing.
Frank Saez, SMG Insight’s founder, believes that the polling shows the place motor-racing has won in the hearts of those who live in the region.
“The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has really secured a niche for itself in the UAE sporting calendar and nothing apart from the FIFA World Cup has beaten it for generating conversation in the country recently.
“Despite the drivers’ championship already being decided, the race was a real high point in the year for many – and the fact that F1 is currently a hotter ticket than the Club World Cup reflects that.”
Saez believes, however, that now the Club World Cup will begin to seize back the public’s attention.
“Our polling shows that the UAE loves its football – more than half of the population considers themselves football fans – and the Club World Cup is when the sport comes to us.
“Thirty-eight percent of those we polled have an interest in this tournament so I’d expect more buzz around the tournament than around any event since we started tracking in the UAE.”