RIYADH: Saudi General Entertainment Authority Chairman Turki Alalshikh on Saturday announced the launch of the Riyadh Season 2023 edition, which opens on Oct. 28 with a ceremony organized by some of the world’s top event planners, he said in a video posted on his X account.
In the video, the event’s new branding was revealed, with Alalshikh highlighting the range of sports, music, gaming and film experiences visitors can expect.
The grand activities will take place at Boulevard Hall, an exceptional multipurpose building able to accommodate more than 40,000 visitors simultaneously and host all types of events.
Around 60 percent of the events will be “new experiences. The first of these experiences is the world of ‘Barbie,’ which will revive the history of the brand,” the video revealed.
For the first time in the Middle East, Riyadh will host the “Disney castle for its centennial celebration (and) will include amazing shows all inspired by the most famous animated Disney movies.”
Visitors can expect other new and unique immersive experiences, such as the “Dancing Fountains,” “House of Hype,” connecting the real world with virtual reality, and “Cats ‘n Cups by Mocha, Japan,” a cafe for cat lovers.
The video announced “Blippi Wonders,” an educational and entertainment experience for chlidren, the “Zero Latency Experience,” which allows visitors to interact with digital content in a realistic way, and “Five Nights at Freddy” for thrill seekers.
This season’s sports events include a heavyweight boxing match between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou, which “will be watched live all around the world,” the chairman said.
“For football enthusiasts, we present the Legend Museum … home to over 30,000 rare artifacts and various interactive experiences,” the video revealed, adding that the season will also host “La Liga Cafe, which will combine gastronomy, entertainment, football and sports at a new facility based on innovation and technology.”
Alalshikh continued: “In partnership with Mike Tyson, we will have a unique boxing club, which will be the first specialized striking gym in the region that will develop and train those interested in the sport.”
Riyadh Season will feature the CR7 Experience, “an exclusive museum designed around Cristiano Ronaldo’s signature and life story. It will feature all his trophies, personal memorabilia, as well as interactive experiences.”
It will also host a wrestling event featuring John Cena and a special WWE center for “fans to enjoy and live the excitement.”
This season will feature more than 30 international shows and concerts with the world’s most renowned artists and will host the fourth edition of the Joy Awards.
Visitors can expect many surprises this year, from culinary experiences — with over 100 international food trucks expected to come from London, New York and Tokyo — to adventure, with a treasure hunt competition featuring an SR6 million ($1.5 million) reward.
Alalshikh said the fourth edition “aims to create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs and enable nearly 2,000 local and international companies.” It will cover an area of over 7 million square meters of entertainment experiences.
“This season is different,” he said. “Big Time.”