The Arabian Peninsula has hosted an array of major sporting events in recent years, including high-profile events in tennis, cycling, sailing, golf, polo, horse racing, Formula 1 and E, the Asian Games and the FIFA World Cup. To enable this, local leaders and their allies have transformed the urban fabric of cities like Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Manama and Riyadh. Branding these places as ‘sporting cities’, urban boosters hope, can help to diversify local economies for the ‘post-oil future’ – a looming concern that has organised a great deal of state development in the past decade. The idea is that by hosting these events and investing in a wholesale makeover of urban infrastructure to accommodate a sports-oriented ‘visitor class’, they will serve as an engine to fuel growth in the future – even if funding them relies on the same hydrocarbon-dominated economic system that their national development plans purport to overcome.