December 8 – Saudi Arabia, the only bid for the hosting of the 2034 World Cup, will have not only a new stadium but a whole new entertainment-focussed city to host matches at the finals.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz yesterday launched the urban design for the city of Qiddiya, which is to be built 40 minutes from Riyadh centre and overlooking the cliffs of the Tuwaiq mountains.
It is a development concept not dissimilar to Qatar’s Lusail, that saw a city built around the football stadium that was constructed to host the 2022 World Cup final.
Saudi Arabia says the aim for Qiddiya is “to become, in the near future, the foremost global destination in the fields of entertainment, sports, and culture. This will have a positive impact on the Kingdom’s economy and its international standing, enhancing Riyadh’s strategic position and contributing to its economic growth. It aims to improve the quality of life, making Riyadh one of the top 10 economies globally.”
The city will feature a multipurpose stadium as it focusses on sports, culture and entertainment experiences that it says will make it “a globally unique destination”.
It will also have a gaming and esports district which will become a global hub for competitions, a speed park track, golf courses, a massive water theme park, and Six Flags Qiddiya.
Construction has already begun with the Saudis saying contracts worth SAR10 billion ($2.7 billion) have already been awarded.
The urban plan provides for 60,000 buildings in an overall area of 360km2, that will eventually house more than 600,000 residents.
The Saudis said Qiddiya City is expected to create over 325,000 job opportunities, yielding a nominal GDP of SAR 135 billion ($35 billion) per annum. Additionally, Qiddiya City expects to attract an anticipated 48 million visits per year.
The theme, philosophy and marketing line for the city is ‘Play’. Clearly the next stage for a nation that has rocketed itself into being a ‘player’ in the global football, sports and entertainment business.
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