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Tue 15 Sep 2009 05:00 AM

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The thrill of the game

Legendary British soccer player, Kevin Keegan, explains the benefits of introducing Soccer Circus to the UAE market.

The thrill of the game

Keegan on the benefits/successes of Soccer Circus in terms of generating interest in soccer across all age groups:Soccer Circus has enabled many different people across a number of different age groups to play the games and experience the thrill of football action in a themed environment that is unique and full of atmosphere. We have seen many people enjoy the attraction, including professional footballers, parents and their children, football club members, people with special needs and many more.

Keegan on the attraction’s ability to generate soccer stars of the future:Soccer Circus does improve the skills and fitness of those who play the games, but it is really about people taking part in this soccer experience. It provides them with an opportunity to sample that special atmosphere while playing with a real football and enjoying the fun of being with friends.

Keegan on rolling out Soccer Circus in other Middle East locations:We are concentrating our efforts on Dubai and Mirdif City Centre, but there is no reason why the concept cannot work in other locations in the Middle East. Once open, Soccer Circus in Dubai will become our flagship attraction, a showcase for the product and the excitement that it generates. With the strong interest in football across the Middle East I can see more of these attractions being built. Soccer Circus also helps to address issues of health and fitness through a schools programme, so there is tremendous potential to develop the product and make a difference to people’s lives.

Keegan on the benefits Soccer Circus will bring to the Dubai market:It’s a place to go to live and breathe football, play interactive games and see what it’s like to be a professional footballer. Visitors can compare scores and see how they match up to the professionals who have visited the attraction. I also see it as an opportunity to bring the family together for a series of fun activities with a football.

Keegan on the opportunities to raise awareness about soccer in the Middle East: The attraction presents a focal point for the brand of football; it’s an interactive attraction that brings people together. As such, I can see that through a schools programme, local football clubs, the general public and the professional UAE footballers that a great platform can be built to promote the game. The main thing is that it’s authentic, based on real skills and everyone can play the games and have fun.

Players only play against themselves in a series of football skill challenges with a real football. The scores they achieve change each time, so a big part of a visit is trying to beat your own personal score.

There is no ‘contact’, so everyone can feel safe and yet play the games to the best of their abilities.

Keegan on how the Soccer Circus model will be applied to other sports:We have plans to develop a multi-sports visitor attraction, based around the same technology that we use at Soccer Circus.

The attraction would be fully interactive and present games in an immersive and fully themed environment, with audio comments from a virtual coach as the visitor becomes the star player needing to score the vital home run or deliver the final pass for a touchdown at the critical part of the game. It would be great for people to experience these situations and feel what it’s like to be a real player in a high pressure moment during the game.

We are very keen to develop our ideas and turn them into reality as we have done with Soccer Circus.

Kevin Keegan is a legendary British soccer player and the founder of Soccer Circus.

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