In Diriyah, the land of kings and heroes where modern Saudi Arabia was born, a spectacular season of world-class sport, entertainment, music and culture will be hosted at the stunning UNESCO world heritage site.

There were incredible scenes at last year’s sell-out Diriyah E-Prix, with music icons such as David Guetta, Enrique Iglesias, One Republic and the Black-Eyed Peas, performing as part of the Formula E racing championship’s debut in the Middle East, described as a watershed moment for the nation.

And this year the ‘Diriyah Season’ promises to take that energy to new heights with a month-long festival of top-class sporting action. At the season’s official launch, which follows the recent introduction of tourist visas for residents of 49 countries, a stellar lineup was announced, including:

·         The return of Formula E, kicking off Diriyah Season and the sixth season of the 2019–20 FIA Formula E Championship with a double header with back to back races on November 22 and 23. The ABB FIA Formula E Championship will return to Saudi Arabia with more action, with Porsche and Mercedes competing for the first time, boosting the number of cars on the track battling it out on the newly announced ‘Diriyah Circuit’.

·         Clash On The Dunes - the first-ever World Heavyweight Title fight in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on the 7th of December 2019. The current unified world heavyweight champion holding the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles Andy ‘The Destroyer’ Ruiz Jr, and Anthony ‘AJ’ Joshua, the 2012 Olympics gold medalist, go head – to – head in a revenge clash of epic proportions.

·         The Diriyah Tennis Cup, the first professional tennis tournament ever to be staged in Saudi Arabia from December 12 to 14. Through a knockout tournament, on the Diriyah Arena, with the coveted Diriyah Tennis Cup at stake, watch as three-time grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland battles it out with Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, Belgium’s David Goffin and Italy’s Fabio Fogini. Four more competitors to be announced later.

·         The Diriyah Equestrian Festival 2019 (DEF) which will see the world’s best equestrian athletes compete in two weekends of elite sportsmanship, on 12th, 13th and 14th December and 19th, 20th and 21st December. Contestants from Saudi Arabia and the world will compete as they collect points to qualify to Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Around these sporting jewels will be wrapped an iconic season of concerts, cultural festivities, food and retail experiences, and a stunning ‘Diriyah Oasis’, all hosted in Diriyah, the historic city which was transformed by the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) into a world-class venue for sports and entertainment while preserving its cherished past.

The exciting line-up will be revealed soon but music fans should reserve November 22,23, December 6 and December 13 and 14 in their diaries.

Once again, the Bujairi district of Diriyah will be home to elegant fashion and retail, and the finest dining Saudi Arabia has to offer. And the DGDA will be staging tours of the fascinating and beautiful At-Turaif district, a UNESCO World Heritage site that stands as a symbol of Saudi’s rich history.

And, this year Diriyah Season will introduce Diriyah Oasis, a cultural and entertainment district that pays tribute to Diriyah’s historical importance, being the birthplace of the KSA, and reflects the rich heritage, unique architecture and affluent resources of Saudi Arabia and the region’s. Diriyah Oasis blends origin with originality by honoring the authentic aesthetic of the location and enhancing it with the introduction of contemporary materials and architectural structures.

His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, chairman of the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia (GSA), said: “Hearts will beat faster, pulses will race, rivals will battle each other, and thousands will be entertained in the cradle of modern Saudi civilization – Diriyah where our nation began.

“Where else in the world can you find this epic blend of the past, the present and future. Last year we opened the door to international travelers through our sporting visa programme, now the Kingdom has launched general tourist visas so our arms are open and our welcome has never been warmer. Come witness history in the making.”

Diriyah will be ready to welcome international tourists with the surrounding At-Turaif district undergoing an ambitious development programme this year, with thousands more trees planted, plus trails, picnic areas and walking paths created.

Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of the DGDA, said: “There is only one Diriyah; the heartbeat of Saudi Arabia, the jewel of our Kingdom. With the transformation taking place under the vision of HRH King Salam bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his dynamic son, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, we are excited to be able to continue  to welcome travelers from around the world. This unique place, so special to our nation, and representing their great power and strength, offers an unrivalled opportunity to experience heritage, history and culture. Diriyah Season will put an important element into the mix - fun. We’re thrilled to be hosting a series of blockbuster sporting and entertainment events that cannot be missed. I can’t wait.”

The announcement of ‘Diriyah Season’ took place at At-Turaif in an astonishing event that hosted Formula E drivers Felipe Massa and Andre Lotterer, alongside representatives from government entities, organizing bodies and media personnel.

Tickets for all of Diriyah Season’s spectacular events and entertainment will be available online at www.diriyahseason.sa with Formula E Tickets being launched on October 6, followed by Clash On the Dunes tickets on October 13, and Diriyah Tennis Cup on October 20. Tickets for other events as well as season long tickets will be announced soon.

Source: Hill+Knowlton Strategies

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