Jaime Byrom’s wealthy clients, arriving from around the world on private jets and yachts, will experience a World Cup in luxury in November and December in Qatar, the gas-rich Gulf state that many European fans consider financially unaffordable.
The luxury expected in Qatar “it will exceed anything we have been able to offer before”declares the businessman. “Some people will spare no means to be there”, predicts Byrom.
Owner of a company that sells exclusive packages to celebrities and large fortunes, Byrom forecasts record sales for the 2022 World Cup. However, he says that all budgets will find their deal.
Byrom, who has sold millions of hotel rooms at ten previous World Cups, says his Match Hospitality company has already booked 450,000 of the three million tickets available for the tournament, which starts on November 20.
Packages can range from $700 (€681) for a front-row ticket, including meals, to more than $1 million (€974,000) for groups staying at top hotels and attending multiple meetings.
Among the most popular are the Pearl Lounge, which is presented as the “latest” of luxury, located in the Lusail stadium, where the final will be played on December 18.
The 116 seats offer impressive views. Guests will receive gifts, champagne will flow and meals will be prepared by Michelin-starred British chef Jason Atherton.
These clients “they will surely use their wealth, but it is only a minority”, relativizes Byrom.
“There are people who are lucky enough to have more money than others and they are going to have an experience that is beyond the reach of most of us, that’s right”, he concludes.
The stars and the great fortunes are not a novelty in the history of the World Cup. The singer of the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, the Chinese tycoon Jack Ma, members of royal families and models have been regulars in recent editions.
Fan spending in the hospitality and service sectors is a major source of revenue for FIFA, earning around US$184 million (€179 million) during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, according to the world body. Switzerland-based soccer.
And this year, more wealthy supporters from neighboring Gulf countries are expected to join in the first World Cup hosted in an Arab country.
Byrom has no doubt that his earnings this year will exceed those of Brazil, with earnings already 29% higher than 100 days before the start of the tournament organized in the South American country.
According to Byrom, the largest sales were made to clients in Mexico, the United States, the United Kingdom and Argentina. But those of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) remain the most important in terms of income. India, Hong Kong and Bangladesh are also among the top ten buying nations.
Less fortunate supporters will share $200-a-day portable huts on the outskirts of the capital, Doha, while others will stay in desert camps in replicas of traditional Gulf Bedouin tents.
But Byrom points out that the World Cup in Qatar will have prices “beneficial” for everyone, since the rates of most hotel rooms are controlled by the government and are not set according to the market.
According to the entrepreneur, fans will also have to take advantage of the fact that they will not break the bank traveling hundreds or even thousands of kilometers between cities, as in Russia in 2018 and Brazil in 2014.
None of Qatar’s eight stadiums is separated by more than 70 kilometers, in this small state of 2.8 million inhabitants, of which around 90% are foreigners.
“This is the first time, and I suppose it will be the last time, that a World Cup is organized in one place”, indicated Byrom, who predicts a competition “extraordinary”.