Crowd figures beat expectations

ABU DHABI — The crowds that have turned up to see the biggest sports event ever to hit the capital have beaten expectations.

By Tim Newbold

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Published: Sun 22 Jan 2006, 10:26 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 6:58 PM

The Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, which began on Thursday last week and comes to a close today, witnessed a crowd of 5,965 on Friday, surpassing the organisers’ hopes. The first day of golf, meanwhile, was watched by 3,784.

Yesterday was relatively quiet at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club as residents returned to work after the weekend.

IMG, the sports giant hired by the emirate’s tourism authority to run the tournament, said that they had expected around 5,000 people to turn up on the main weekend day. The attendance in the end was 20 per cent up on what had been predicted. Ten thousand spectators per day had been planned for, IMG said, although that number was never expected to turn up. With between 4,000 and 5,000 tickets on sale to the public, the remainder was reserved for VIPs, club members and the media.

“It has been a new sport for us here,” Ali Ahmed Al Hosani, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority’s marketing director, told Khaleej Times yesterday. “It is the first time we have hosted such an event. It was difficult to predict but we have done a lot of work over the last year. We have been working hand in hand with IMG to make it a success. We have seen something unexpected — the crowd, the impact on people. It has been a successful tournament so far.”

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