Qatar eyes underwater TV studio for World Cup 2022

The ambitious $30m project could be underwritten by TV networks, a decision whether to green light it will be made in the next few months

Qatar's live football broadcasts in 2022 could be made from an underwater studio. Image supplied.
Qatar's live football broadcasts in 2022 could be made from an underwater studio. Image supplied.

Qatar is considering building an underwater broadcast studio for use during TV coverage for the FIFA World Cup in 2022, a designer working on potential plans for the project has revealed.

“The project we are in the process of designing for is an underwater broadcast centre [and] is quite a real possibility,” Patric Douglas, CEO of Reef Worlds, told CW's sister magazine Arabian Business in a phone interview from its base in Los Angeles.

Douglas said Qatar’s World Cup authorities “like the design” and “they like the notion of doing the World Cup underwater with sharks swimming around.”

The site for the proposed underwater broadcast centre would be a carved out area of rock, which would then be turned into a giant aquarium.

The project is likely to cost around $30 million to build and Douglas said the funding for it would be underwritten by broadcasters eager to use the unusual venue as a broadcast base when the Gulf state hosts the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

“You could underwrite the entire thing with one Sky or Latin broadcast network, they will pay you enough money to finance this thing,” Douglas claimed.

A final decision on whether to green light the project will be made in around two months’ time.

US-based Reef Worlds became active in the Middle East market last year and announced plans to build “sustainable underwater tourism sites” in Dubai, the UAE and the wider Gulf.

It is also currently working on an underwater amusement park project on The World, the manmade series of islands in the shape of the map of the world off the coast of Dubai, which he said will hopefully move forward this year.

The Qatar TV station proposal is the latest lavish underwater project to be pitched in the Gulf in recent weeks. Last month, Arabian Business reported a Polish architect confirmed he was is pitching designs for an underwater tennis centre off the coast of Dubai and is currently seeking investment from local backers to make the concept a reality.

Krzysztof Kotala, who has a Master of Science in Architecture from Kraków Polytechnic and owns the 8+8 Concept Studio in Warsaw, has completed the initial designs. While the story made headlines around the world, he admitted he had yet to source any potential investors to launch the proposal.

“There is not an investor but I would like to get interest as I think it is a good idea,” he told Arabian Business.

“This will be something original. This should be somewhere where there is the tradition of tennis. Dubai is perfect for this idea,” Kotala added, referring to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which has been staged in the emirate since 1993.

This story originally appeared on Arabian Business here

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