Final preparations are underway for the historic $20 million Saudi Cup horse racing event in Riyadh. There’s just a day to go before top racehorses from around the world compete in a series of 16 races at King Abdulaziz Racecourse on February 28 and 29. International Venue Management (IVM) has been at the forefront of organising the event and has been responsible for a host of operational workstreams including marketing, sponsorship, food & beverage, travel and ticketing. 

IVM has shown that versatility and adaptability is the company’s strength, operating as the engine room of the Saudi Cup event. Experts from different fields have combined to help make the Saudi Cup happen. IVM founding partner Rob Quick said: “As one example, we have taken on all the local marketing activities and we quickly came to an understanding of how the market works. We have employed a local marketing agency and IVM created and implemented a strategy for the Saudi Cup.”

Horses work out in preparation for the Saudi Cup

Senior Marketing Associate Tim Hymans has helped drive marketing efforts on the ground in Riyadh. He said: “Our strategy here is very much about educating, entertaining and involving people in horse racing. It’s around the link to Vision 2030 and how horse racing can contribute to the GDP of Saudi Arabia in the future from veterinary, breeding or jockey programmes to growing specialist turf in an arid desert. It’s about anything directly related to horse racing. 

“One of the initiatives we’ve been running is a campaign getting school children to design rugs that will be put on the winners of three races on the day. That is helping to get children involved. We’ve also launched a fashion competition with Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University where we’ve asked the students to design some headdresses to go with an outfit. We’re asking the students to bring them to the track and we’ll run a fashion show on Cup Day with online voting to pick the best one.”

Tim Hymans on track in Riyadh