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UAE, UAE, ABU DHABI - Tourism

Brint Jackson

General Manager, Etihad Arena

Bio

Brint Jackson is the General Manager of Etihad Arena, with in-depth market knowledge and 15 years’ industry expertise. Prior to joining Etihad Arena, he spent 13 years at Spectra (Now OVG 360) across the US and Middle East, managing four venues including NFL Arizona Cardinal’s State Farm stadium and two of the the UAE’s leading entertainment venues, du Forum and du Arena. He studied sports management at Temple University and graduated with a BSc specializing in sport and recreational management.

"Culturally rooted yet future focused, Etihad Arena’s iconic design is inspired by the intertwined meshes of the baskets used by local Bedouin tribes, but modernized with LED lighting strips across the exterior."
Etihad Arena has hosted exceptional entertainment experiences across the region and supported Abu Dhabi’s vision of becoming a global hub of entertainment and world-class sporting events.
Etihad Arena is the Middle East’s largest state-of-the-art indoor entertainment venue. How would you define its architectural environment, and what have been some of its main highlights over the last year?

Culturally rooted yet future focused, Etihad Arena’s iconic design is inspired by the intertwined meshes of the baskets used by local Bedouin tribes, but modernized with LED lighting strips across the exterior. The cutting-edge indoor entertainment venue was developed by Miral, Abu Dhabi’s leading creator of immersive destinations and experiences. Bringing world-renowned musicians, entertainers, and sporting events to Yas Island, Etihad Arena has hosted events at full capacity since 2022. With a capacity of up to 18,000, the main highlights including showcasing the first NBA pre-season games in the region, the show-stopping Disney on Ice, hosting Maroon 5 as part of the group’s world tour, the action-packed UFC 280, and the on-stage adaptation of Disney’s The Lion King, amongst others. Hosting these spectacular global events doesn’t just attract people from across the globe to Abu Dhabi, but also demonstrates the flexibility of the state-of-the-art venue to host a suite of events, from thrilling basketball games to A-list concerts.

Etihad Arena holds a Sustainable Building Award due to its design and management. How does this showcase the venue’s commitment to greener practices and educating the local community?

From its design and conceptualization through to its construction and execution, Miral constantly thought of the many ways to make the Arena more sustainable. To combat Middle East’s extreme heat, the Arena includes several design sustainable strategies, including shading on glazed areas, low window-to-wall ratios, self-shading, and a reflective angle façade to eliminate external heat gains. All these make a huge difference, especially in the summer. Another example of this sustainable approach is the heat energy recovery for ventilation systems, and we also use water-efficient features across the venue that contributes to 28% indoor water savings. The Arena has the capacity to use TSE water for its energy center cooling towers though a reverse osmosis system. Additionally, the venue accumulates water condensation from cooling systems and re-uses to irrigate its surrounding landscape. We have had cashless and paperless systems from day one, a major transition from many arenas in the West. We have also replaced many plastic items with cardboard, for example. These are small touchpoints, but together they all make a difference.

Etihad Arena works with diverse partners across sectors to provide international audiences the ultimate experience. To which extent are these partnerships definitive to provide high-quality events?

We are only as good as our partners, and we are fortunate to work with the best in the industry to offer local and international audiences the best in entertainment. We would not be where we are today without the relentless support from Miral, and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi. Each of these entities not only helped bring in some of the world’s biggest events, but also thoroughly believed in our ability to successfully host a suite of large-scale events. We provide a state-of-the-art indoor entertainment facility and partner with leading organizers such as Live Nation, and Proactiv Entertainment to produce and promote events and experiences. We want every single promoter to feel like this is their venue. When they come in, we want to combine our expertise and work together to ensure the event is as successful as possible. Additionally, we couldn’t have done it without our commercial partner Etihad Airways as well as other supporting partners including Aldar, DHL, Coca-Cola, Spinneys Abu Dhabi, and Red Bull, to name a few. Finally, being based in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, we are privileged to have the support of government entities such as Abu Dhabi Sports Council who have played a vital role in bringing renowned sporting events to the Arena and Yas Island.

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