World champion in branding: How Qatar wants to use the World Cupas marketing for their own country!

It is finally time again! The World Cup 2022 is just around the corner and everybody who is involved is getting excited, while the teams of the different nations were fighting for their ticket to go to the hosting country Qatar. Fans from all around the world, as well as companies that aim to advertise at the event are getting ready for this year’s tournament.

Teams are training to get to their best forms, coaches are studying the other nations’ teams and trying to find out the best tactics that could lead to success, stores are flinging with merchandise. Fans and gambling enthusiasts are looking for the best betting apps in the UK and elsewhere to place their bets and eventually use the odds for their profit. All in all, everyone is getting excited, the people of Qatar are no exception.

The team of the hosting nation of Qatar did not have to go through the qualification round, as the team of the hosting nation automatically qualifies for being part of the World Cup. That means not that the Qataris are just sitting around waiting for the tournament to begin. The small nation has been working for months on the preparations for hosting the huge international event. As the World Cup 2022 is like any other international major sports event a great economical opportunity for the hosting country as money will pour in from all sides as well as visitors will.

No wonder that, like any other nation in the past, also the small desert state in the middle east aims to use the tournament for its own publicity. But what are they exactly doing in order to improve their marketing? We have the facts you need to know!

First time in the Middle East

The World Cup of this year is certainly different from the traditional tournaments that we had been seeing in the last decades. One big reason is the country where the tournament will take place. For the first time in the history of the World Cup the teams will face each other in a stadium in the Middle East. 

Many people ask themselves why Qatar is getting to host this huge tournament. The Gulf country has the highest GDP per capita on the globe, according to a Forbes survey from earlier this year. It is a nation that is flush with oil money, and the Doha skyline resembles something extremely futuristic. Well, to be honest, money is probably the biggest factor leading to this choice. 

As the World Cup is one of the world’s biggest tournaments, attracting millions of people and including hundreds of major companies to advertise and sponsor, the truth is that besides football, the whole thing is very much about business as well. For the west the rich gulf state of Qatar is a good choice. The state is a monarchy but at least pretends to work with a democratic system, which is enough for the rest of the world to work with. 

How Qatar is using the World Cup

No wonder that Qatar is happy about the choice and will do their best to use it for their own profit. Like any other country that hosts the World Cup Qatar is already advertising the event in a wide range of ways. One of the big companies of the country is the airline Qatar Airways which started their advertisement campaigns already redesigning the prints on the outside of the airplanes and certainly adding the World Cup 2022 to it.

As a sponsor themselves it is out of question why the company gets that much involved. Additionally, there is a shift of sponsors becoming visible. Due to the public concerns about the choice of Qatar, which we will come later to, many major companies of the west dropped out of the game making space for new sponsors and these are in fact mostly from the hosting country itself. Qatari companies such as Qatar Energies, Qatar National Bank, The Look Company or Ooredoo are among the top sponsors of the World Cup this year. 

Furthermore, Chinese and American companies did not hesitate to step in. Chinese heavy weights like the Wanda Group, Vivo and Hisense are joining this year’s sponsoring.

Concerns and opposition

As the gulf state is a super rich country run by an absolute monarchy many people around the world have voiced concerns about the choice of Qatar as World Cup host. Already when the choice was announced many people were concerned about the human rights situation in the country stating that a peaceful event such as the World Cup must be requiring certain standards of the host. 

The expectations were fulfilled as several reports stated the terrible working conditions of the workers that had to build the stadium for the tournament. The renovation of the flagship Khalifa Stadium for the tournament turned out to be done by workers from Bangladesh, India, and Nepal being exploited. Reports found that forced labor is being used against many people. Many of them were unable to leave the country, change occupations, and sometimes had to wait months before receiving payment. 

As the rich locals are mostly not working much, 90 percent of the country’s workforce is made up of the 1.7 million migrant workers. Often these workers who come in hope of making money to send it back to their home countries, have to pay high recruitment fees to get a job in the first place. Afterwards many employees take away their passports and let them work under unbearable conditions. There were several reports of domestic and sexual abuse as well.

While all these reports of Amnesty International and other major human rights organizations are extremely alarming, FIFA, the world’s governing body of football, its sponsors, and the related construction firms stand to profit greatly from the event. No wonder that Qatar is trying to use the chance of hosting the World Cup to wash away the bad reputation and present itself as a shining democracy.

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