Home > Case study: Sky Sports Production for ‘Clash on the Dunes’

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital was the venue for 'Clash on the Dunes', the highly anticipated rematch between heavyweight boxers Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua. British broadcasting giant Sky Sports needed flights, hotel nights and transfers for the event. With this being the first major international boxing match to be taking place in Saudi Arabia, Travel Places had to overcome logistical, cultural and timescale challenges to ensure the 90+ production crew were able to seamlessly deliver a moment of boxing history to the UK public.

Successes from the event:

490

Room nights

90

Travellers

80

Transfers

The Challenge

The venue for the event was chosen just a few months prior to fight night. With any event, short notice requires an experienced team of travel specialists to help deliver it successfully, but this was magnified due to the location of the fight. Saudi Arabia has only recently started to host and promote major international sports events and therefore sourcing accommodation of the right standard, with the right facilities for a large production team would be a challenge. Sky Sports had to entrust someone they knew had unique experience of successfully managing group travel in Riyadh.

The flight schedule that operates from the UK to Riyadh is limited, resulting in flights arriving late in the evening and even the early hours of the morning. The Travel Places team on the ground had to liaise with the transfer company and hotels to negotiate a much later check-in time than standard. Furthermore, many of the travelling production crew had significant amounts of baggage due to the nature of the work they were about to undertake, increasing the number of transfers that were needed.

"We have really enjoyed working with you all at Travel Places and you have all been a great support. I know we threw several curve balls at you and you worked hard to provide us with everything we needed, and we really appreciate that. It made our lives a lot easier on the ground having you there. Thank you also for always having a smile on your face."

Emma Chapman | Sky Production Manager

Our Approach

Travel Places are one of the only travel specialists with previous experience of Saudi Arabia as a major event destination. Prior to this event, we had worked on the Formula E Grand Prix, with the racetrack being very close to the purpose-built 15,000-seater fight venue. This on-site expertise allowed us to utilise the hotels and transport contacts we had previously built a relationship with. By having this previous experience and built trust with the suppliers, we were not only able to gain favourable rates, but we had confidence the service provided would be of a high quality for our clients.

The culture of the destination also had to be taken into consideration. Due to the fundamentally traditional and conservative culture of Saudi Arabia, extra measures had to be put in place for the female members of the 90+ travelling group. The hotel that was being used had a ‘male only’ gym and no accessible space for the female guests. The Travel Places team used their connections with other hotels in the area to ensure that female members of the group could use the facilities of a neighbouring ‘female only’ gym, ensuring all Sky Sports team members could have a productive trip.

The Result

The event posed many challenges, but ultimately the high-touch service of the Travel Places team on the ground in Riyad, coupled with our experience and knowledge of the event destination, resulted in the Sky team successfully delivering a sporting spectacle.

Our Team

As with any event, this was a team effort, with members from the flights and events team supporting all aspects of event planning. Event Operations Lead, Andy Turner was our expert on the ground, spending the full 6 nights in Saudi Arabia and managing incoming flights and all transfers from airport – hotel – fight venue.

Get in touch for a free group travel consultation with our specialist team:

004401903832888

info@travelplaces.co.uk