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Posted On: 6 February 2023 12:34 pm
Updated On: 6 February 2023 12:56 pm

Breaking sports hospitality records and delivering ‘world firsts’ at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™

Cassandra Pallagud
Cassandra Pallagud
Content Writer
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As the curtain closes on the thrilling FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, the most successful sports hospitality programme ever is also officially delivered.

With close to 257,000 hospitality packages sold, this year’s FIFA World Cup™ Official Hospitality Programme has generated the highest revenue ever for sports hospitality, surpassing the 2014 record set by MATCH Hospitality in Brazil.

By the numbers

FIFA Match Hospitality
Image credit: Press release

MATCH Hospitality is the worldwide exclusive rights holder of the FIFA Hospitality Programme for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, and the only company authorised to offer official ticket-inclusive commercial hospitality packages either directly or through a global network of appointed Sales Agents.

The magnitude and logistical complexity of the programme is an enormous undertaking, employing collectively some 8,600 staff to deliver in-stadium, ticket-inclusive hospitality across six tiers of product, plus – in some cases –flights booking services and accommodation assistance.

Over 37,000m2 of tented structures, 35,000 furniture items, 300,000 gifts, and 331 tons of food were prepared and provided to guests. These kinds of deliverables are the foundation of the programme which ultimately welcomed hundreds of thousands of fans and guests from 140 countries during the course of the tournament.

FIFA World Cup™ of firsts

FIFA World Cup firsts
Image credit: Press release

Not only was Qatar the first Middle Eastern country to host the FIFA World Cup™, it was the first tournament offering the opportunity to attend multiple matches daily – without the need to move from city to city, because of the short distances between stadiums.

“We always said this would be a ‘FIFA World Cup™ of firsts’, and believed that if MATCH Hospitality and other stakeholders played to the strengths of Qatar, the FIFA World Cup 2022™ could prove to be the best ever, and it certainly delivered on those promises,” says Jaime Byrom, Executive Chairman of MATCH Hospitality. “We also set a new record for the highest revenue ever for a sports hospitality programme, and raised the bar with the excellent service provided by the MATCH Hospitality team. In combination, this really makes us ‘first’ in my eyes.”

Shifting the dial

Shifting the dial
Image credit: Press release

Almost two years prior to tournament, it was clear that this would be one for the record books, as pre-sales for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ hospitality reached the unprecedented level of US$90m. Then MATCH Hospitality made commercial aviation history in partnership with Qatar Airways, creating an “early bird” programme which allowed customers to book their flights over 16 months prior to flying. This had never been done before and allowed super-fans and passionate clients to secure key elements of their tournament well in advance.

Sales interest from the domestic market and other traditionally strong territories – such as Mexico and the United States – continued to soar, and with just weeks to go to the Opening Match, the Official Hospitality Programme of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ surpassed the revenue records we set in 2014.

At that stage, revenue obtained from the sale of hospitality packages was tracking almost 10% above what was achieved after the conclusion of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, the most successful sport event until now in terms of hospitality sales.

Ultimately, for 2022, more than 257,000 hospitality packages were purchased.

New platforms, online and off-site

Match House
Image credit: Press release

In addition to in-stadium hospitality products, an off-site offerings became available to MATCH Hospitality clients in 2022.

MATCH House – which first debuted in 2018 – returned, in an exciting custom-built two-storey temporary structure overlooking the FIFA Fan Festival™. Not only did this provide guests the best views of the on-stage entertainment, inside they were treated to inclusive food and beverage, entertainment, and matches live-streamed on a huge screen that spanned the length of one double-volume wall.

Additionally, MATCH hospitality launched the M-Cart app, a digital platform to – as the slogan says “elevate your event experience”. M-Cart provides clients with destination advice and city guides, sections for planning your trip and booking experiences, as well as the M-Cart editor’s choice of must-see events during tournament.

“M-Cart supports our customers at every stage of their tournament trip, and will be a key means of connection and communication with our hospitality clients going forward,” adds Byrom.

Sustainability and social initiatives

FIFA sustainable food containers
Image credit: Press release

MATCH Hospitality is also proud of playing our part in the sustainability and corporate social responsibilities of the wider FIFA World Cup™ – in compliance with FIFA’s sustainability strategy – through things such as our participation in the tournament food donation programme which redistributed food from 12 stadiums and fan zones, and the use of over 500,000 pieces of compostable cutlery, crockery and glassware, fully eliminating single-use plastic from hospitality operations.

Moreover, MATCH Hospitality – in partnership with the Qatar Ministry of Health – welcomed 1,000 frontline healthcare professionals who were gifted ticket-inclusive hospitality packages for select matches, as a gesture of thanks for the incredible care delivered over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the role they played in ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for local fans and international guests.

Finally, we were thrilled to provide a rare training opportunity to a select group of students from a world-leader in hospitality education. Thirty-one students were deployed and given hands-on experience within our stadium teams.

“Thank you – and congratulations – to everyone who contributed to the success of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Official Hospitality Programme,” says Byrom, “from guests to service providers, partners to staff, and especially FIFA, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, and last but not least, to our host, Qatar.”

Source and cover image credit: Press release