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A-listers to splash cash on extravagant World Cup parties

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Lewis Hamilton is one of many stars set to enjoy luxurious hospitality at the FIFA World Cup

A star-studded line-up is set to splash out on after-parties at the Qatar World Cup, according to the region’s event planners.

F1 champion Lewis Hamiliton, supermodel Bella Hadid and singers Usher, The Weeknd and French Montana are among the celebrities flying out for the winter tournament, said Bally Singh, founder of the Rich List Group.

The company will be organising luxury parties during the 28-day football fiesta which will bolster hospitality revenue.

“We’re looking to partner with 1OAK, the famous club from New York, for hosting, hospitality, watching the game, and after-parties,” Singh told AGBI.

“We’ll bring different brands in, do hotel activations, and draw in the celebs. We’ll be the go-to place.”

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Supermodel Bella Hadid is heading for Qatar

1OAK, also known as “1 of a Kind”, is known for its lavish parties, including the VMAs, MTV Awards and the MET Gala.

Singh, who has previously organised superyacht parties for oil tycoons and a 100-supercar road trip for rapper 50 Cent, said the FIFA party scene will extend to the UAE, too.

“We’re planning on doing an activation for FIFA in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for 30 days,” he said.

Interest in the event is high, with more than 1.8 million tickets already sold for the matches ahead of the next round of sales due to open on July 5.

Qatar Airways said in May that Gulf Arab airlines would operate more than 180 daily shuttle flights to Doha during the World Cup.

Air Arabia, flydubai, Oman Air, Qatar Airways and Saudia have all announced the operation of multiple daily flights to enable fans to fly in from neighbouring cities and ease accommodation pressures in the host state.

Just one table at a star-studded Qatar World Cup party can cost up to $200,000, Singh said, adding that his VIP clients spend large amounts on caviar, oysters and vintage drinks.

Last week AGBI reported UAE residents have purchased 7,500 hospitality packages, with the most expensive costing $1.6 million.

The Pearl Lounge option includes a luxury lounge with concierge service, the best views in the stadium, a six-course meal and high-end drinks. The total price of $1,632,400 does not include hotels, flights to Qatar or transport to the stadium.

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Usher enjoys football and luxury living

Sonal Vara-Parmar, founder of Dubai-based IAM Entertainment, said that sport works hand-in-hand with entertainment and ultimately brings greater benefits to the economy of a host nation.

“Sporting events are some of the largest arenas in the world,” she said.

“With FIFA the football is great and they’ll be sold out.

“But it’s all the other activities that Doha has to offer – the hospitality, the F&B, pop-ups, different entertainment from the big to the small and local bands. That’s important because you’re exposing the country.”

Vara-Parmar, whose company recently completed a multi-million-dollar funding round led by Abbey Road Investment Group, added that there is “no better medium than music to bring in a bigger audience”.

“If you look at the F1 in Abu Dhabi, not everyone likes racing but the race weekends host large-scale concerts that bring in a different demographic of people,” she said.

Over the years IAM has brought showbusiness names to the region including Mariah Carey, Steve Harvey, Kevin Hart, Alicia Keyes, Will.i.am and the Black Eyed Peas, and Lady Gaga.

“When you host big global events like this you know it’s more for the honour and prestige of the country, but then all this residual income and revenue are important,” Vara-Parmar said. “The flights and hotel bookings create jobs.”

Thomas Gateff, co-founder and managing partner of M2L Concepts, said the opportunities for FIFA to boost both the local and regional entertainment businesses are plentiful.  

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Dubai-based IAM Entertainment has previously brought to the Gulf stars including Lady Gaga

“For markets like Dubai there is a huge potential to host and entertain sports fans with immersive activities that will help them feel engaged in the FIFA world,” he said.

“We’re working on such developments. DIFC will be hosting a fanzone during the World Cup in Gate Avenue, where fans will be able to watch matches on giant live screens and participate in a wide range of activities from themed concerts to business talks.

“Global sporting events like the World Cup, Olympics and the Cricket World Cup revolve around lifestyle and entertainment.”

Sponsorship revenue and broadcasting rights on cable and streaming TV allow sporting events to operate on a big scale.

With billions of people tuning in, cross-platform simultaneous engagement is now a requirement, not a luxury, Gateff added.

NBC sold over $1.25 billion in advertising before the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games was delayed. Dubai, which hasn’t hosted a FIFA World Cup or Olympics, saw restaurant and café business rise by 500 percent during the 2014 Racing World Cup.

FIFA expects to offer a total of three million match tickets during the 28-day tournament, which kicks off on November 21. 

The global sports tourism market size was valued at $323 billion in 2020 and is projected to cross one trillion by 2030, according to a report by Allied Market Research.