Football giant Real Madrid has teamed up with the government of Ras Al Khaimah to develop a billion dollar football theme park.
The Real Madrid Resort Island is expected to open in January 2015. According to a statement on the Real Madrid website, it will be the ‘first recreational tourism complex built under the Real Madrid trademark’.
“When the Real Madrid Resort Island opens its gates, visitors will become part of the legend of this club, which strives to be eternal and universal,” said Florentino Perez, the club’s president, in the statement. “We adhere our name and potential to a unique location, a strategic meeting place and a project of unprecedented dimension located less than four hours away by flight of 2,000 million people.
“Real Madrid and the Government of Ras Al Khaimah want to transmit the passion of Real Madrid and what it means throughout the world.”
The resort will cover an area of 50 hectares and is being badged as a sports tourism complex. A key feature will be a stadium being described as the first to be ‘open to the sea’. A theme park, Real Madrid museum, marina and other sports facilities are to be included in the development, along with a residential area and hotels.
Dr. Khater Massaad, CEO of RAK Investment Authority, represented the Government of Ras Al Khaimah at the project’s launch event, along with Louis Armand de Rouge, RAK Participations & RAK Marjan Island Football CEO.
In a report in the Financial Times de Rouge described the project as ‘strategic’ and ‘unique’. “There are already many high-profile people in the region invested in football, but not in this way,” he said in the report.