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Tue 19 May 2015 09:41 AM

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Exclusive: Qatar eyes underwater TV broadcast studio for FIFA 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

Exclusive: Qatar eyes underwater TV broadcast studio for FIFA World Cup 2022

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 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.


speckled hen fan 4 years ago

Hahaha! It's a joke, right?

Dave Taylor 3 years ago

No joke, our design team has been on this project for the past ten months with the same glass company that did Dubai Mall Aquarium and Atlanta's AQ.

MSN 3 years ago

This project would make more sense if football event is happening underwater.

Doug 3 years ago

This project would make more sense if Qatar was definitely going to be hosting the football event, which is by no means certain with everything going on at Fifa!

Oor Wullie 3 years ago

Is that the same Dubai Mall Aquarium that sprang a leak after the glass developed a crack in Feb 2010 and the Mall had to be evacuated - barely a year after the Mall opened ?
... no danger putting TV presenters and electrical equipment into a studio/confined space underwater then - what could possibly go wrong ?!?!

venkat venkicharan 3 years ago

another day ..another worthless project that could be better used on developing human talent and resources which is sorely lacking in the region

Dave Taylor 3 years ago

That is the MILLION dollar question isn't it? FIFA needs to clean house.

Dave Taylor 3 years ago

Actually, not so crazy when you think about the secondary uses of an aquarium/meeting space.