SEVEN Chief Executive Officer Bill Ernest is a man on a mission. The former Disney executive is charged with building at least one theme park as well as 20 family entertainment destinations and a network of 50 cinemas across Saudi Arabia.
He’s got a multi-billion dollar budget to achieve it, but his deadline is tight: 2030. Bill Ernest, the CEO of Saudi Entertainment Ventures (SEVEN), talks to Blooloop about the company’s plans.
The scale of SEVEN’s ambition is demonstrated by its internet domain name – entertainment.sa. This deliberately broad term reflects the scope of development planned by Saudi Entertainment Ventures over the next decade.
SEVEN aims to become “the leading national investor, developer and operator of a diverse ecosystem in KSA [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia].”
“We believe that together with our partners we have the drive and expertise it takes to build the entertainment economy from the ground up,” says its mission statement. “We believe that entertainment will enhance the quality of life for citizens of and visitors to the Kingdom, spreading joy and driving progress throughout the nation.”
SEVEN in Saudi Arabia
Founded in December 2017, Saudi Entertainment Ventures’ activities complement four ‘giga-projects‘ and other multi-billion investments allied to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. Like Qiddiya, NEOM and the Red Sea Project, SEVEN is backed and wholly owned by the nation’s Public Investment Fund.
As part of the Vision’s ‘Quality of Life’ programme, there is a call for new theme parks, family entertainment centres, water parks, zoos, aquariums, museums, art galleries, theatres, cinemas, public parks and more. In total, 260 entertainment venues will be created. This is in addition to 358 unique entertainment events.
A series of events linked to ‘seasons’ in different parts of Kingdom has already begun. These include November/December’s Diriyah Oasis in the historic part of Riyadh, and the city’s ongoing Winter Wonderland, as part of the capital’s wider Riyadh Season…