The first retail and dining concept store is set to open in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall in May, with plans also lined up for Dubai.
UAE-based retail firm Marka announced that it has teamed up with European football governing body UEFA to develop ‘Champions League Experience’ concept stores across the Middle East.
The inaugural store –the first of its kind in the world – is scheduled to open in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall in May this year, a joint statement said.
UCL Experience Central View
Inspired by the UEFA Champions League football competition, the 17,000-square-foot destination retail concept will feature a combined retail and restaurant offering, along with a museum where fans can learn more about their favorite teams and players.
Customers will be able to purchase merchandise from top teams including Real Madrid CF, FC Bayern München, FC Barcelona, and Chelsea FC, from dedicated shop-in-shops.
Memorabilia signed by football legends such as Lionel Messi, Steven Gerrard and Cristiano Ronaldo will also be on display and available for purchase.
UCL Experience Check Out
A wide range of official UEFA Champions League licensed products will also be available.
Khaled Almheiri, vice-chairman of Marka, said: “The UEFA Champions League is the most popular club football competition in the world and enjoys a cult following across the Middle East.
“The UEFA Champions League Experience will be the ideal destination for all football fans to come and enjoy the best of European football and their favorite teams—under one roof.”
The fast-casual dining restaurant will present signature dishes served in a stadium-inspired setting designed to replicate the atmosphere of the UEFA Champions League, while streaming live matches, archive footage of standout games and highlights on giant screens, the statement said.
UCL Experience Restaurant View
Nick Peel, CEO of Marka, said “We recently announced that Marka is targeting the fast growing sports retail segment, and I am pleased to confirm that following the Abu Dhabi store we are now also in discussions to open a flagship UEFA Champions League Experience location in Dubai, with an anticipated opening in late 2015.
“We are confident that the UEFA Champions League Experience will become a must-visit destination for all football lovers in the region and beyond. There are many exciting plans in the works.”
Marka, a start-up that publicly listed on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) last year with a capital of Dhs500 million, aims to tap into the region’s fast growing sports retail, fashion and hospitality sectors.
In December 2014, Marka announced that it had agreed to buy sporting goods firm Retailcorp from Istithmar World, a unit of state-owned Dubai World, for Dhs220 million.