Aspire4Sport Exhibition and Conference, the Middle East’s leading sports business convention, wrapped up its fourth annual edition yesterday as it announced record-breaking attendance levels.
Approximately 200 exhibitors took part, generating a remarkable 45% increase in revenue compared to last year, while visitors were up to 30 percent with 8000 more in attendance.
The convention, hosted by the Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) and held at the Aspire Dome, was inaugurated on Saturday by His Excellency Salah Bin Ghanem Al Ali, Qatar’s Minister of Youth and Sport. Four days of high-level sports business discussions and networking sessions followed, interspersed with guest appearances from several sporting legends.
The event brought together the world’s leading sporting stakeholders and heralded the latest announcements on national sports development .
It also saw visits from nearly 419 delegations, including Denis Masseglia, President of the French Olympic Committee, and The Netherlands Ambassador to Qatar, Yvette Burghgraef.
The exhibitors who came from 30 countries, reported an extremely favorable experience.
Mr. Abdulaziz Al Mahmoud, President of Aspire4Sport
"The main objective of Aspire4Sport is to promote and support the sports industry by creating a climate conducive to the fostering of mutually beneficial partnerships that enrich the region’s sporting industry."
"The continued success of this event supports Aspire Zone’s strategic vision of becoming a world leader of sporting excellence by 2020."
"Aspire4Sport is an enabling platform that allows us to continue to nurture future sporting talent in line with the human and economic pillars of the Qatar National Vision 2030"
National Sport Day expansion
His Excellency Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Secretary General of Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC), used the high-profile conference as a platform to announce that Qatar’s National Sport Day will be expanded into a week-long, annual National Sports Festival in an effort to boost Qatar’s sports tourism industry.
HE Sheikh Saoud made the announcement in conjunction with Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), and said, “The National Sports Festival signifies the unification of Qatar Olympic Committee and Qatar Tourism Authority’s efforts to successfully promote and market Qatar as a sports tourism destination by catering to international and regional fans through all-inclusive promotional packages."
Al Wakrah Stadium's design concept unveiled
The design developers of Al Wakrah Stadium, AECOM in partnership with Zaha Hadid Architects, unveiled their new-concept design to the world and exclusively showcased details on what will be the first of Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 arenas to be completed.
During a Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee Update on day two of the conference, John M. Dionisio, Chairman and CEO of AECOM, said, “The Al Wakrah Stadium was designed in consultation with FIFA, and succeeds in adhering to its high standards. Any alterations we made to the design were to maintain the vision of creating a stadium reflective of Al Wakrah’s heritage.”
Aspire Zone development plans
Conference organizers AZF also unveiled ambitious development plans of their own, announcing a significant expansion scheme to further the nation’s ambition of achieving a world-class sporting infrastructure.
Engineer Mohammed A. Al Meer, Manager of AZF Engineering Department, highlighted the mega projects planned and said, “The expansion will result in the creation of new facilities including training venues, indoor facilities, winter indoor facilities, target and martial arts facilities, a skate park, water rafting and an indoor cycling venue. It will host multipurpose conference facilities, including hotels, restaurants and residential real estate, which will assist in transforming Qatar’s burgeoning economy into a thriving metropolis.”
QFA-Shell new partnership
In addition, His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani, President of the Qatar Football Association announced a new partnership with Qatar Shell that will see the energy giant become patrons of Qatar’s national football team for the next four years. Qatar Shell has sponsored the Prince’s Cup for the past eight years and recently signed two partnerships to launch the Koora Time Initiative, aimed at improving the health of Qatar’s youth.
Staab nominated for the "German Football Ambassador" award
At this year's Aspire4Sport the ‘German Football Ambassador’ program nominated Monica Staab, Coach of Qatar’s national women’s team, for its first prize, to be awarded to her at the Department for Foreign Affairs in Berlin next year. Staab received prize money to support social football projects in a country of her choice. She chose to support the United Nations-endorsed Layan campaign.
An array of sporting legends took to the couch during the ‘Stars Chat’ segment of Aspire4Sport, including football’s Alan Shearer, former heavyweight boxing world champion Lennox Lewis, and NBA superstars Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning.
Local motorsports legend Saeed Al Hajri also took part in the Stars Chat event alongside the promising rallying star Abdulaziz Al Kuwari.
Brazilian Football Café (Exhibitor)
First time participant Alexander Barbosa, President of sports marketing firm the Brazilian Football Café, said, “This is the premier sporting business event in the Middle East so it is fundamental for us to be here. It is even more fitting that it is being held in Qatar, hosts of the FIFA World Cup 2022, enabling us to show this country what we can offer it. This is our first year at Aspire4Sport but we will definitely be back next year as our experience has put us in contact with key decision-makers of the international sporting world."
The Look Company (Aspire4Sport Official Branding Partner)
The Look Company, a digital fabric printing firm, has had a presence at Aspire4Sport from the start, and remains steadfast supporter. General Manager Jacob Burke said, “We are official partners of Aspire4sports and have been for four years. It is exciting to see the expansion of the exhibition during this time, as well as the increase in high-profile visitors. Aspire4Sport has succeeded in fostering a reputation as one of the leading sports exhibitions in the world, and this year’s success proves just that."