The Qatar World Cup will bring FIFA’s biggest sporting event to the Middle East for the first time.
Qatar’s 12-year investment is likely to pay off for the Gulf state, with the CEO of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 estimating revenues could reach $6 billion.
Speaking to Qatar News Agency, Nasser Al Khater revealed that this year’s World Cup has attracted major investments that allows the Gulf state to profit favourably.
Al Khater noted airlines and sponsors agreed on shifting the tournament one day earlier since it provides high viewership potential from audiences worldwide.
The date change was made after the executive committee of the FIFA Council approved Qatar to appear in the opening match against Ecuador.
As the country is set to draw 1.2 million visitors, Al Khater has stated that several games have been sold out, surprising some FIFA officials.
Al Khater also pointed towards the possibility of allowing ticketless fans to enter Qatar after the group stage matches are completed to enable visitors a chance to enjoy World Cup fever.
The World Cup CEO also said the Saudi Arabia and Argentina game on November 22 is officially sold out, while noting the Mexico vs. Argentina match days later, which will see world-class talent Lionel Messi take to the pitch, is the hottest selling.
As the second phase of ticket sales ended earlier this month, Al Khater is confident that September’s third phase will be in high demand as there are only 500,000 tickets left.
The next phase is likely to gain interest from GCC nationalities, particularly Saudis, who are expected to come in large numbers to attend the first Middle East World Cup.
The upcoming Lusail Super Cup that will be held on September 9 will be completely sold out in the next 48 hours, said Al Khater.
Musical icon Amr Diab will stage a concert in the 80,000-capacity Lusail Stadium as the Saudi Pro League champions play against the Egyptian Premier League winning team.
‘High accommodation prices’
Qatar’s World Cup has been criticised for its pricey accommodation, with reports calling out the country for its few affordable rooms.
However, Al Khater said there are options at each price point to accommodate all budgets.
While some hotels may sell rooms for over $5000, rooms are still being sold for $80 a night, Al Khater stated.
Additionally, Qatar has implemented several housing options, including camping sites with Bedouin-style tents, to contest the costly prices.
More than 180 daily shuttle flights will be operated to ease accommodation pressure, allowing fans to fly in from nearby regional cities for their selected match.