From e-sport to padel, how Qatar envisions the future of sport

As hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar has embarked on an important year for the sport. But what will be the future of this sector in the country? Qatar 365 discovers its potential, from the world of e-sports to sports business and the padel craze.

Diving into the world of e-sports

E-sports has become a major attraction around the world with its conventions, competitions and streaming channels to such an extent that educational institutions are taking a keen interest in it. This is the case of the International School of London, which is the first school in the Middle East and North Africa to use video games as learning tools and to create its own electronic sports league.

Globally, it is estimated that next year, electronic sports will be practiced by 600 million people and will generate revenues of more than 1.6 billion euros.

Qatar has now created an esports federation that wants to attract more international tournaments and gaming organizations to the country. The national electronic football team supported by the Qatar Football Federation now ranks tenth in the world.

Esports tournaments also allow some players to make it a lucrative full-time activity, but also give older generations the opportunity to strengthen their knowledge of the subject.

« One of the most memorable experiences for me was watching my own father attend a tournament, » remembers AbdulRahman Al-Mana, organizer of e-sport tournaments for example within the Virtuocity site. « When he saw the huge stage, the spotlights and people competing and getting excited about it, » he continues, « He said, ‘It’s just like sports’ and he didn’t even know the term esports! »

The dynamism of the e-sports scene in Qatar should certainly allow this sector to achieve excellent scores.

A hub for sports business

Sport is a multi-billion dollar industry that offers countless opportunities. A new institution intends to exploit them: it is the Sport Accelerator of Qatar which intends to create business opportunities and attract foreign investment in this sector.

« Sport Accelerator is a pioneering, one-of-a-kind business center, » tells us its CEO Azzam Al Mannai. « It operates under the aegis of the Aspire Zone Foundation, » he adds. « Our main objective is to create under one roof an ecosystem for sports companies coming to Doha, but also to encourage the local counterparts of these companies, » he points out.

This hub hosts international companies that represent success stories like Microsoft and LaLiga. But there are also successful start-ups like Sponix launched within the Sport Accelerator a year ago. « It’s a technology company that has created 3D replays on television for football matches and now it is continuing its journey in Europe, Asia and the Gulf countries and it has managed to sign agreements with Italian Serie A, UEFA and companies like beIN Sports, » says Azzam Al Mannai.

Seize the padel ball on the leap

Invented in 1969 by Mexican businessman Enrique Corcuera, padel is one of the fastest growing racket sports in the world. Today, it is in Qatar that it is most popular.

Usually played in doubles, although singles is also possible, this non-contact sport has become essential for those looking to exercise during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Padel trainer, Julia Galifa Beltri came from Spain a year ago to teach this sport in Doha within structures such as the Aspire sports club, one of the first places equipped with dedicated courts in the country.

She trains women who practice this sport, the majority of them being Qatari, and has seen their enthusiasm for this discipline: « It’s amazing because they’re making progress, they’re having fun… Every day new people message me because they want to train, try this sport, » she says. « After training, they stay on the courts to play with their friends, meet their children… They want to register them so that I can teach them this sport and that they progress, » she adds.

The International Padel Federation, the sport’s governing body, has created a new world circuit for this discipline and its first event is being held in Qatar from March 26, 2022.

Laisser un commentaire