Qatar: focus on business around the football World Cup

The State of Qatar has spent $220 billion building world-class infrastructure, including new roads, public transport, hotels and sports facilities. The matches will take place in eight high-tech stadiums, ensuring maximum comfort for the spectators.

1.5 million supporters are expected in Qatar for this historic event that boosts the tourism sector and the hotel and restaurant industry. Qatar expects the World Cup to add $20 billion to its economy in the short term, and the infrastructure benefits are expected to last for decades.

“The last 12 years have been a very busy time for economic development, which has really been boosted and accelerated by the World Cup, explains Nasser Al Khater, General Manager of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. It’s all part of a big development plan that was put in place in 2008, and what we’re looking at is really the effect of that plan over the next 20 years.”

“I’ve never seen a host ready so far in advance, says FIFA President Gianni Infantino. All stages are complete. The infrastructure in terms of hotels and roads is being completed. Qatar is therefore ready. FIFA is ready, the world is ready. And after complicated times with pandemics and stuff like that, we really have to get together.”

First FIFA World Cup in the Middle East

Qatar 2022 will make history by bringing the World Cup to the Middle East for the first time. All eyes will be on Qatar and the wider region.

“In my opinion, the success of the WC will show that the sports industry in Qatar is in a class of its own, said Sheikha Al-Anoud bint Mana Al Hajri, Deputy CEO and Business Director of Qatar Financial Centre. This is a unique opportunity to place yourself on the international sports map or on the international trade and economic map. The WC is just a small reflection of a massive effort. And I am personally convinced that what they want to see is a country that is rapidly transforming into a world capital of sustainable development. Companies that want to change the world will recognize that this is where they will be best able to do so.”

SponixTech, the rising startup

Qatar’s financial commitments to build an infrastructure capable of hosting a major event like the FIFA World Cup have given a boost to many companies, particularly in sports technology.

One of them is SponixTech, a Qatar-based company that provides immersive replay technology and virtual ads during live matches. In just two years, it has linked up with the FIFA Arab Cup and the Premier League.

SponixTech wants to be present wherever there is sport. But beyond this year’s efforts, their goal is to become one of the world’s leading sports advertising companies, considering deals with other major competitions, including tennis tournaments and the NBA.

FIFA World Cup in numbers

FIFA earned $5.4 billion in revenue from the 2018 FIFA World Cup, a 16% jump over revenue from the 2014 edition. However, as a non-profit organisation, FIFA reinvests most of its earnings into football development. In 2018, $4.3 billion was directly invested in football programs.

FIFA generated more than $3 billion in TV rights revenue from the previous World Cup. The popularity of soccer around the world has led to fierce competition among global broadcasters. FOX has won a bidding war with rival ESPN, securing a $400 million deal with FIFA for television rights leading up to this year’s World Cup.

All expenses for advertising and marketing around the World Cup will hit record highs this year. Experts say Qatar 2022 has the potential to deliver unique brand experiences.

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