SBOF highlights Qatar's diversification into the sport sector
The Prime Minister and Minister of Interior H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani attended the Sport Business Opportunities Forum, which took place in Doha on Sunday. The forum highlights the diversification of Qatar's economy into the sport sector as the country becomes a hub for major sports industries.
Speaking at the event, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) Secretary General Hassan Al Thawadi detailed how the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ will contribute to the economic development of the country by building sports-related industries. After the opening session, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Aspire Zone for the creation of a Sport Business Park at Aspire Zone to support sports businesses in Qatar.
The formation of a Qatar Sports Business Cluster, which is led by the MEC with key SC participation in the overall coordination of analysis for business opportunities, was announced at the event.
The Minister of Economy and Commerce, H.E. Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani also spoke at the event and predicted Qatar's rapid development into a sports hub, based on the experiences of other major cities around the world: "Barcelona is well-known as being a sports hub, with a large sports market including around 600-700 companies who helped in exporting these services outside of Barcelona.
"Sport is part and parcel of the Qatar National Vision 2030. The 2015 Handball World Cup was hosted here, and around 30 major events are organised here on an annual basis. This domain can be further developed. Qatar has splendid facilities, and will have the best stadiums in the world. The management of events, stadium construction, sports tourism, promotion, marketing and PR campaigns – these are the main disciplines which we need to develop. There are plenty of opportunities for the private sector to participate and we will facilitate access for the private sector through the Qatar Sports Business Cluster."
Hassan Al Thawadi expanded on sport's role in Qatar's future economy, adding: "The 2022 FIFA World Cup™ will contribute to the economic development of Qatar, bringing with it excellent investment opportunities, and further enhance the country's position as a sports hub and tourism destination. We have always looked to give an important role to the Qatari private sector companies, to help them benefit from this tournament.
"Qatar will become a centre for exporting this expertise to the region and the world. We are ready to support all the infrastructure developments which lead to 2022, and are working to leave a lasting economic legacy by cooperation and partnership with the private sector. We are confident that through our work together and our long-term planning we will make this tournament a turning point for the sports sector in the region."
Saud Al Attiyah, director of Economic Policy and Research at the MEC, highlighted the future opportunities in the sports industry in Qatar at the event. Presenting to a full room of sports sector companies in a workshop session, the SC outlined the business opportunities available to companies, specifically in the venues construction sector.
"I am very glad to be here at such an exciting forum, hearing about the business opportunities which are awaiting us," said Arjun Ramachandran, business development manager for Indian company Prompt International, a Doha-based firm which is looking to diversify into the sports sector.
"We are hoping to have fantastic growth by 2017 in this sector. You can feel the diversification of the economy taking place here and Qatar has always welcomed this, starting with the sports sector. Sports is one of the major areas of focus, and the government is really taking a lot of care in developing sports opportunities in Qatar, as you can see at this event today."