The news about the 2022 Qatar World Cup never seems to stop, which, from a purely numerical perspective, is impressive, considering it’s seven years away. But it isn’t just news of atrocities and alleged corruption hoisting Qatar into the spotlight; it’s also crazy futuristic concepts like cruise ship hotels and artificial clouds to cool stadiums. But with each week, a new concept surfaces that makes the last seem pedestrian. This week is no different.
According to Patric Douglas, CEO of LA-based Reef Worlds, the 2022 Qatar World Cup might boast the first-ever underwater broadcast studio for television coverage. “The project we are in the process of designing for is an underwater broadcast centre [and] is quite a real possibility,” he told Arabian Business. Qatari officials apparently “like the design” and “the notion of doing the World Cup underwater with sharks swimming around.”
As long as the sharks aren’t either played by or eating migrant workers, the otherworldly appeal of an underwater studio is pretty obvious.
This isn’t Douglas’s first foray into underwater experiences in the Gulf region. His team just completed the design for The Pearl of Dubai, the world’s largest underwater theme park, modeled after the ancient mythical city of Atlantis and supposedly inspired by Avatar and Pirates of the Caribbean.
An “underwater World Cup studio” doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch from fake Atlantis, until you start thinking about things like technology requirements of a submerged TV studio in comparison to an underwater city made of fake reefs and solid stuff. (I don’t have a science or engineering degree, obviously). And then there’s the part dealing with humans, with only land experience, spending hours every day underwater. The studio sounds like a logistical nightmare.
But let’s not let logistics get in the way of dreams.
The underwater World Cup studio is estimated to cost around $30 million to build, which, Douglas suggests, could be wholly underwritten “with one Sky or Latin broadcast network; they will pay you enough money to finance this thing.” But if that figure is accurate, in a country where they’re building seven cities to house 258,000 laborers, surely someone in Qatar can find $30 million under a seat cushion to make our first science-fiction World Cup a reality.
Now let’s head back to the studio, where Alexi Lalas is talking to a shark about the first half.