The live events production in Abu Dhabi has shown flexibility. Flash Entertainment CEO John Lickrish now wants to duplicate this model away. On June 9, 2020, a few weeks after the global live Event Management Companies went into the concrete wall, UFC President Dana White dropped the blockbuster.
While all other major sporting events especially the Olympics themselves have been rescheduled or even canceled, White confirmed that UFC will be bringing its first Fight Island concept to Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island in the coming month.
Organized by the Abu Dhabi Ministry of Culture and Tourism (DCT Abu Dhabi), the event organizer Flash Entertainment serves as an operational and logistics partner to take care of the entire event.
Next up is a carefully designed environment that includes an 11 square kilometer Yas Island, which has been created as a safe zone and isolated from the public to create a bubble where only those directly involved in the incident can enter allowed. All 1,678 Abu Dhabi event staff who participated in the event were quarantined at the hotel for 14 days. Employees were repeatedly tested for Covid-19 and more than 10,000 tests were conducted in the safe zone prior to the event.
“Within the five isolation levels of Yas Island, we have three different main areas. This is the first time for everyone. We rely on agreements to establish these safe areas. Flash Entertainment CEO John Lickrish said: “We found a positive case even before they entered the country at the departure airport. Flash owns 10% of UFC stock and sold the shares at an undisclosed price in 2018.
Although Flash, founded in 2008, focuses on pure logistics in its day-to-day work, paying extra attention to new and complex healthcare agreements will only increase the pressure. For Abu Dhabi, there is more at stake. “The leap in taking this belief has to be attributed to the Tourism Bureau.
This could pose a huge risk to the city’s reputation,” Lickrish added. Multiple events management were then held last year, including UFC 253 and UFC 254 in the emirate, leading to Dustin Poirier vs. Connor at the Etihad Arena UFC 257 by Conor McGregor.
Lickrish defines Flash as a 360-degree event services company with approximately 50 full-time employees, increasing to approximately 100 year-round in response to increased event management. In a few weeks, it may see UAE National Day celebrations, post-match Formula 1 concerts, AFC Asian Cup football championships, and the Pope’s visit.
“We are a full-service events company where we create and manage IPs, or we use existing IPs from other third parties or government agencies. We also have a facilities management department and we operate throughout the Abu Dhabi Stadium,” said Lickrish.
Flash also focuses on facility management, cultivating infrastructure and ecosystems around the Event Management Companies UAE. One of these great locations is Etihad Park. According to reports, the venue can seat 40,000 people, has hosted more than 1.5 million people since its completion in 2009, and has been the venue of Yasalam After-Race Concerts operated by Flash Entertainment, featuring A-level performances from across the globe around the world, including Rihanna, Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, and Lana Del Rey will perform at the annual Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix weekend.
Despite the recent UFC and other incidents, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on Flash, just as it has impacted the entire event industry. “In 2021 we hope that the fourth quarter will be very strong. But in fact, we will not be able to recover until 2022. To the normal cycle of events,” Lickrish said, which is refreshing is pragmatism rather than arrogance.
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