Etihad Arena grand opening on schedule despite coronavirus fears

Published: 6 March 2020 - 8:06 p.m.
By: Digital Studio Middle East Staff
Etihad Arena has no current plans to postpone the venue’s inaugural event, despite concerns over the spread of coronavirus.

Abu Dhabi’s first-of-its-kind multi-purpose indoor venue is scheduled to host Disney on Ice Frozen from April 15 to 18 as part of a grand launch onto the region's entertainment circuit.

Despite the current virus outbreak, the venue’s general manager, Brint Jackson, told Arabian Business it was “all systems go” for launch next month.

“That is scheduled to go ahead,” he said.

“It’s a great one and to have the Frozen specific Disney on Ice for the first time is a huge win for us. Disney on Ice has been here before but never the Frozen-themed event.”

There are currently 28 cases of coronavirus confirmed in the UAE, 22 are still active, five have recovered and two are said to be in a “serious” condition.

A number of high profile events, scheduled to take place in the UAE in the coming weeks, have either been cancelled or postponed until later in the year, as concerns are raised about large gatherings and the potential to spread the coronavirus.

This includes, the Dubai International Boat Show (postponed until November), Art Dubai (postponed), Taste of Dubai (postponed until December), Club Social 2020 (postponed until later this year), K-Pop Music Bank Concert (postponed indefinitely) and Ultra Abu Dhabi (postponed to a later date).

The Disney on Ice Frozen performances are being set up to welcome between 5,000-7,000 people per show, according to Jackson, who added: “It’s day to day, but everything is all on go at the minute, nothing has changed from our standpoint.”

Etihad Arena is set to become a go-to venue for live entertainment. With a flexible capacity ranging from 200 to 18,000 people, the venue, situated on the waterfront of Yas Bay, has been designed to accommodate both large-scale and private events.

Jackson said: “When we say landmark of entertainment, that’s really what we mean. It’s more than a tag-line because it is derived from the fact that our versatility means we can offer something for everyone, from world class sporting events to off-Broadway, off-West End musicals, concerts, comedies, family shows – we can literally cater for any size and for any type of event.

“We have the curtains, the sound system, the staging and the internal equipment to do an intimate Trever Noah show for 2,500 people, and then do a world class sporting event for 13,500 people with a court or a playing surface in the middle.”


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