BY ONYEKA CHRISTOPHER ONYISI
As the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ climaxes on Sunday, the FIFA Fan Festival™ at Al Bidda Park in Doha, Qatar has seen more than 1.8 million fans enjoy the live broadcast of games and the vibrant entertainment on offer at the venue.
Opening on Saturday, 19 November 2022, the FIFA Fan Festival has been the hub for both international and local fans during the tournament, showing every FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 game on an iconic 1,800 square meter screen and providing free entertainment with some of the most famous names from music scenes around the world, including Diplo, Maluma, Kizz Daniel, Nora Fatehi, Trinidad Cardona and Calvin Harris.
“After years of dedicated work, it has been a joy seeing fellow football enthusiasts from all over the world come together at the FIFA Fan Festival to celebrate football,” said Mead Al Emadi, Director of the FIFA Fan Festival, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC). “Bridging the gap between East and West is an important part of the legacy of staging the first World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world, and the FIFA Fan Festival has played a big part in this journey. I want to thank my incredible teams for their hard work over the past years for coming together to deliver this amazing project. Our success would not have been possible without all of their tireless efforts.”
Gerdine Lindhout, FIFA Head of Experiential Marketing & Promotion, added: “The FIFA Fan Festival has proven to be the soul of the tournament, bringing together millions of fans from every corner of the globe to share and express their passion for the beautiful game. It has been the perfect party to complement the greatest show on Earth: the FIFA World Cup!”
The 145,000 square meter and 40,000 capacity venue has welcomed an average of 70,000 visitors per day, with 146 music artists having performed 162 hours of live music, and more than 700,000 beverages sold throughout the tournament.
Fans from every nation have experienced all that the venue has to offer.
“This is my fifth time visiting the FIFA Fan Festival and I love it!” shared France supporter Salim Ghana, 27. “I try to come whenever I can to watch the games, enjoy the great music and for the food as well. I really love meeting fans from all over the world and this has been a great place to do that. It is really a unique experience, and this is the best World Cup ever!”
Fellow France supporter Irina, 30, spoke of her excitement in sharing the experience with new friends, saying: “I really like celebrating with other fans, hugging them, and cheering all together – and the FIFA Fan Festival is the perfect place for it! You meet people from all over, watch the matches and dance together. It is brilliant!”
Rio, 35, who is attending with his wife, father and two-month-old baby, emphasised the family-friendly nature of the venue, saying: “The organisation is really good and it’s a good place for families!”