Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA), announced on Sunday that the 4th edition of the Riyadh Season, under the slogan of ‘Big Time,’ will kick off on Oct. 28.
He said that this year’s festival, featuring a new and innovative brand, will be different. “The festival aims to create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs, and empower nearly 2,000 local and international companies to establish the most distinguished entertainment experiences from all over the world on an area spreading over seven million square meters,” Al-Sheikh said in a video posted on his X account.
The GEA chief appreciated the unlimited support that the entertainment sector receives from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman. “The opening ceremony of this year’s season will be conducted by the top event organizers around the world, with the participation of the most famous celebrities. It will be accompanied by the Riyadh Season Belt Fight, which is the first and largest event of its kind, and one of the largest heavyweight boxing fights.”
Al-Sheikh said that the season will witness an upgraded website with new features, and an approved ticketing platform with unique specifications. He unveiled the event’s new branding. Around 60 percent of the events will be new experiences. These include the world of ‘Barbie,’ which will revive the history of the brand.
He announced a new zone, called ‘Boulevard Hall,’ which was built, within 60 days by adopting international artistic and technical standards, on an area spreading over 200,000 square meters, and can accommodate more than 40,000 visitors at a time. “The ‘Boulevard City’ has completely changed from what it was in the past seasons, as it will embrace global experiences, of which 60 percent are new. The most prominent of which are the centenary celebrations of Disney through “Disney Castle”, which will be presented in the season for the first time; ‘House of Hype,’ which is the largest experience linking the real world and virtual reality, ‘Cats ‘n Cups’ by Mocha, Japan, a café for cat lovers; Blippi Wonders, an educational and entertainment experience for children, in addition to around 30 different interactive experiences, and many other activities.
The GEA chief also announced the establishment of the Legend Museum, the first and largest museum for football legends, as it showcases more than 30,000 rare artifacts and various interactive experiences. It is considered as the second branch in the world after the Madrid branch. It will feature the CR7 Experience, an exclusive museum designed around Cristiano Ronaldo, featuring his experiences and showcasing Ronaldo’s signature and life story. It will display all his trophies, personal memorabilia as well as interactive experiences.
The video also explained about a unique sports club specialized in boxing. The club will be established with world champion Mike Tyson to discover and train talents in boxing around the world. The season will also witness the ‘Riyadh Season Cup’ with the participation of Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr clubs along with another international club with a three-team league system. It will also host the largest wrestling festivals in the world ‘Crown Jewel’ with the participation of the World Champion John Cena, and the ‘Riyadh Tennis Season Cup’ tournament with the participation of the world’s top ranked male and female champions.
Al-Sheikh revealed that the second phase of developing the ‘Boulevard World’ area with an increase of 40 percent has been completed and that it is considered as the largest project of the season. It will include the largest popular shopping area with 1,180 stores, 120 restaurants and cafes, various artistic performances and various entertainment games.
He noted that the season witnesses the presence of an integrated entertainment area called ‘Wonder Garden,’ and it is the largest mobile amusement park on an area of half a million square meters. It will be a new and updated version of ‘Winter Wonderland,’ and will consist of four gardens and more than 85 games and experiences, in a new location north of the city of Riyadh to facilitate visitors’ access to it.
Al-Sheikh stated that the Square (Al-Murabba) has been transformed from a temporary zone to a permanent one, and will include a new group of the most luxurious international cafes and restaurants. Work will also begin on the famous Phuket Hotel and Café project in the neighboring area, the design of which will be inspired by the architectural style of the Square, while the ‘Via Riyadh’ area will include St. Regis Hotel, which welcomes its guests for the first time, and a new group of international restaurants and cafes from various continents.
He pointed out that this year the season will host more than 100 of the most famous food trucks around the world, meeting in one area, in addition to an exhibition of luxury and distinctive cars on an area of 150,000 square meters, which includes 1,000 rare cars. There will also be ‘I Am Arab’ exhibition; Riyadh Toy Festival (RTF), the Influencer and Content Creators Awards Exhibition and Ceremony (Concon), and the Joy Awards.
The Riyadh Season 2023 includes three new and completely free zones, which are ‘Souk Al-Awalain,’ which contains the largest weekly auction and the largest area of heritage markets, and ‘Riyadh Zoo,’ whose capacity has been increased by 25 percent, and also hosts ‘Al-Suwaidi Park’ and new areas and experiences with diverse cultures and mobile musical band shows. It will also witness holding of the ‘Treasure’ competition in a new and innovative way, with prizes amounting to SR6 million.