Dubai is gearing up to host football fans from across the world during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with dedicated fan zones being set up across the emirate.
With less than three months to go before fans descend on the region, with many planning to use neighboring countries to Qatar – including the UAE – as a base to travel to and from tournaments, fan zones, featuring big screens, restaurants and entertainment will offer supporters without a ticket the chance to watch a slice of the action in the emirate.
Football fever will be up front and center at the newly-announced Football Park at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
The Football Park will open on the podium level of Gate Avenue and will host Michelin-starred restaurants, butler service and a concierge for fans wanting to experience the world’s greatest football tournament in style.
Prices have not yet been announced but will be revealed when bookings open on September 15.
Fans will be able to book outdoor seating areas in front of a huge screen to watch the drama of the month-long tournament unfold.
The experience is being organized by Art Dubai Group, a commercial public and private partnership that owns and operates some of the region’s most successful cultural events, in partnership with entertainment specialists Hoko Agency.
“As a leading urban destination, we are pleased to host The Football Park in collaboration with the Art Dubai Group and Hoko Agency, which are both well renowned for their programming and hospitality offerings,” said Saleh al-Akrabi, chief executive of DIFC Property Management in a statement.
“Through this event, we are excited to give visitors and corporate guests an opportunity to experience a truly unique and premium way to watch and be part of the world’s greatest football tournament.”
Also in Dubai, the Habtoor Grand Resort has announced plans for a ‘World of Sports Fan Zone:’ A tented fan zone with big screens, food stalls, and the capacity to accommodate 1,500 football fans.
McGettigan’s – a traditional favorite for sports fans – and DGT Events are also taking over Media City Amphitheatre during the month-long football tournament, where fans will enjoy all the sporting action in an open-air fan zone.
Fanzone by McGettigan’s will run for the entire FIFA World Cup, opening from Saturday November 19 until Sunday December 18, and will even feature a winter festival, an array of entertainment, food and drink.
Dubai’s first football-themed hotel is also slated to open in November.
NH Dubai, on The Palm Jumeirah, aims to be a hotspot for fans to base themselves for the duration of the football tournament so they can travel into Doha to and from matches.
The Football Fans Dubai Experience, hosted by the Expat Sport tourism agency, will offer a package of flights from Dubai to Qatar, airport transfers and accommodation at the new NH Dubai The Palm.
Football fans have so far snapped up 2.45 million tickets to November’s World Cup in Doha, FIFA reported earlier this month, which plans to make 3 million spots available in total.
Close to 521,000 tickets were sold in the most recent phase and group-stage games featuring Brazil proved popular. Residents from the host nation Qatar, and neighbors Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were among the top buyers, FIFA said.
The World Cup has been billed as an event that will benefit countries across the region, and Qatar Airways has partnered with Gulf carriers to set up match-day shuttle flights between Doha and major Middle Eastern cities.
FIFA plans to start the next phase of ticket sales in September. About 1.2 million fans, roughly half the population of Qatar, are expected to descend upon the Gulf state during the event.
Providing sufficient rooms for visiting fans, teams and tournament staff remains a key challenge for Qatar and organizers have tried everything from cruise ships and desert camps to help ease the accommodation squeeze.
The event is set to start on November 20, a day earlier than planned, following a last-minute change this month.