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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Qatar’s first test of cooling tech at open-air fan zone passes muster

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All photos by Chantelle D’mello

Those heading to the newly opened Brazil 2014 FIFA Fan Zone at Katara may want to grab a sweater before tuning into the matches.

Despite the hot, humid weather last night and the open-air atmosphere, temperatures at the fan zone stayed in the cool mid-20Cs.

“It’s great,” said local Syrian resident Shireen Khalil, who attended the match along with her family. “I thought that it wouldn’t work well, but I’m surprised. And really cold.”

Critics abroad have expressed skepticism about Qatar’s pledge to use cooling technology during the 2022 World Cup, which falls during the sweltering summer months.

FIFA Brazil Fan Zone

Four cooling columns were set up near the stands yesterday during a live screening of the Brazil vs. Chile match.

In a statement, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SCDL) said that various strategies were being employed to keep the seated areas cool, including “high level jet nozzles” and cooling mists.

However, temperatures in the periphery of the fan zone, especially in areas near the entrance and whatever was not enclosed by the four pillars, were noticeably warmer.

Speaking to Doha News yesterday, SCDL spokesman Nasser Al Khater said:

“We’re excited and pleased with the turnout. We have always promised a working cooling system and we have delivered. Going forward, we’re going to use the lessons learned to better our work. Registration was smooth, and we’ve seen a lot of social media and online interaction.”

He added that the cooling technology was also being tested at the Aspire Fan Zone that has been set up for Aspire staff to watch the 2014 games.

Logistics

Despite a big publicity push – and being one of the only free venues to watch World Cup match screenings in Qatar – the 1,500-person capacity fan zone opened to less than a full house last night. According to Al Khater, the beginning of Ramadan was a contributing factor.

However, fans who did turn up enjoyed a large seating area with bleachers, couches and giant pillows.

Pre-registration to attend the event was originally encouraged, and only those who did so online and printed out parking passes were allowed to park in the designated areas outside the fan zone.

But now, due to problems with the online system, registration is taking place at the nearby Doha Exhibition Center on the day of each match. Parking is available at the DEC, and fans will be taken to the match screenings in a shuttle.

The buses will run continuously while the fan zone is open. The zone’s hours vary, depending on the World Cup match schedule:

  • Sunday, June 29: 5pm to 2am
  • Monday, June 30: 5pm to 2am
  • Tuesday, July 1: 5pm to 2am
  • Friday, July 4: 5pm to 2am
  • Saturday, July 5: 5pm to 2am
  • Tuesday, July 8: 9pm to 2am
  • Wednesday, July 9: 9pm to 2am
  • Saturday, July 12: 9pm to 2am
  • Sunday, July 13: 7pm to 1am

Upon entering the fan zone, fans are registered along with their email addresses, and are issued wristbands.

In the zone, the wristbands are used to identify fans, and any pictures taken within the zone, goals scored at the various games, or caricatures drawn, are supposed to be sent to the fan’s registered email address.

Passes are valid for one day only, but can cover more than one game on that day. Fans looking to score last-minute tickets to the games can only do so on the day of the matches.

The ticketing booths at the Exhibition Center will open an hour prior to the opening of the zone, according to PR Manager Jawaher Al-Khuzaei.

Offerings

The zone features three screens, each dedicated to a different part of the game. The main screen directly in front of the seating area screened the game, while elongated screens to the sides kept track of each side’s score, fouls, and showcased other relevant facts.

Sound and lighting worked in tandem with the game. A yellow card meant that the stadium was bathed in yellow light and dramatic music, highlighting fans’ reactions.

Other attractions include a virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, a 11-on-11 foosball table commissioned by KIA, and pressure and accuracy sensors to measure the strength and direction of a player’s kick at various dedicated game stalls.

FIFA Brazil Fan Zone

The zone also features a kids’ play zone, a caricature artist, face-painting stalls and an official FIFA-branded merchandise store, which sold World Cup-related items.

Jugglers and performers in costume roamed the zone prior to the match, entertaining the crowd.

Meanwhile, good and beverage stalls on both sides of the zone sold sandwiches, hot dogs, chips and beverages for between QR10 to QR25.

The opening of the fan zone saw an acrobatic and percussion show, with performers twirling Brazil flags, beating drums, performing somersaults, and other acrobatic feats.

An MC then welcomed fans, and showcased tweets with the #MyFanZone hashtag on the zone’s LED screens.

During half-time, Wonho Chung, a Korean comedian born and raised in Saudi Arabia, entertained the audience.

Fans can expect similar entertainment during other matches, with a lineup including:

  • Capoeira performers challenging Middle Eastern footballers;
  • Beatboxing sessions with Dubai-based performer Ray;
  • Comedians Hamad Al-Amari and Hisam Fageeh;
  • Sand artist Shayma Al Mughairy;
  • Singer Hala Al Turk; and
  • 2xtreme Football – a show combining martial arts, parkour, freestyle football, and breakdancing.

Do you plan to check out the fan zone over the next few weeks? Thoughts?

62 COMMENTS

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AEC
AEC
7 years ago

Any details on the carbon footprint of this technology?

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago
Reply to  AEC

You took my thought exactly! So is this technology equivalent to if I were to sit on my patio while keeping my sliding door open and knocking my living room AC setting down to 19C? Technically it would be outdoor setting, much cooler, but I would hate to know the energy consumption! Now imagine that on the scale of the stadiums for numerous hours for numerous games! I hope there is more to the technology than that! But even if there is, you would think the footprint would still be huge!!

AEC
AEC
7 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

And then you have to balance that against what you’re getting for your consumption. I wonder if FIFA will only accept an “outdoor” experience. What’s wrong with playing indoor? Mind you I’m always amazed at how uncomfortably cold the a/c is in many buildings in Doha which seems strange because I’ve spent time in other desert climates where the a/c seemed to work fine…

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago
Reply to  AEC

I suppose the AC is so freezing that it forces us expat ladies to cover up and comply with the “dress code” 🙂 I must say it is quite effective, I go everywhere in pants and always have sleeves or a cardigan to ensure I don’t catch a cold in summer!

AEC
AEC
7 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

Still amazes me how many people you see half dressed and covered in goose bumps.

Molten Metal
Molten Metal
7 years ago
Reply to  AEC

If you are so much worried about the carbon foot print, please stop reading Doha News online and thus save some electricity. #Okthanksbye

AEC
AEC
7 years ago
Reply to  Molten Metal

1. I never indicate I was “worried” – only interested.
2. I think you’ll find the carbon footprint is less if I read it online than it would be if I read it in print.

brorick
brorick
7 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Can Qatar do anything which pleases people?!

AEC
AEC
7 years ago
Reply to  brorick

Who said anything about being displeased?

Peter Parker
Peter Parker
7 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Any details of how they are going to scale it up to an uncovered 86,500-seat arena? *snigger*

Scarletti
Scarletti
7 years ago

a bit short of the other vital ingredient……. the ‘A’ word !

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

I’m right there with you on that! Watching a World Cup game without it is something I’m not willing to do!

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

Nag nag nag.

Skander
Skander
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

There is a difference between abuse and consumption, what about the local “food abuse” if you wish during ramadan? Let’s not turn overly sarcastic here.

Alcohol is a problem that will be solved though, Host countries are FORCED to serve alcohol during the worldcup because of the sponsors so I do not see what the fuss is about.. it’s not an issue because it WILL be served.

AEC
AEC
7 years ago
Reply to  Skander

Warm beer in a plastic cup – they’ll flock here for that. Especially if it’s a Bud.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago
Reply to  AEC

You mean in 2022 my beer won’t be cooled by this new amazing cooling technology, and it will be…WARM???! And it will be… BUD???! THAT’S IT!! Cancel my tickets; I’m out 🙂

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Trust me, I do not mean to “nag” my friend; there are just some events that some individuals in other cultures do associate with alcohol. Such as a champaign toast at a wedding; a glass of red wine with a good steak; and let’s face it, a cold beer while watching a sporting event. I’m not condoning getting “sloshed”, but having alcohol is something some of us are used to. Neither opinion is right or wrong; just different.

Win
Win
7 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

Sorry but I have to disagree with you. Sometimes…getting sloshed is great .. lol 🙂

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago
Reply to  Win

I know that Win, but that does not help with my present argument!! So shhhhh……. hahah… we’ll keep this our little secret 🙂

Win
Win
7 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

lol…

brorick
brorick
7 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

no, your talking about mainly he culture you came from. Im pretty sure Qatari people dont have champagne at a wedding nor wine with steak.
how about experiencing the Arab culture? Im british but I understand you have to adapt….
Also, for your info, i have it on good authority that there would be alcohol if it wasnt ramadan…

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago
Reply to  brorick

Brorick, I apologize, I think you misunderstand my comment. There was a statement that all alcohol consumption equals alcohol abuse. My point was that is not the case; there are just some events in which some people in my culture have grown accustomed to having a drink at that event, it does not equal “abuse” or “dependence” for those in my culture that do so. I agree with you that Qatari people don’t have champagne at a wedding!! And I’m not asking them to!!
I have no problem experiencing the Arabic culture, and I will do so while I’m doing Arabic things.
In the meantime, while I’m watching the World Cup, I will sit at home with friends and watch it with a beer.

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
7 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

http://en.mercopress.com/2012/05/10/brazilian-senate-approves-budweiser-bill-ending-dispute-with-fifa-over-world-cup-sponsoring

there will probably something like this bill passed before 2022. i predict a rise in good people just having a good time and huge spike of drunken brawls in the country when that happens

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago

Mohammed – I am sad to say that I agree with you; for every 10,000 good people wanting to have a good time, there will be 1 jerk that wants to start brawls and cause issues.

I’m not going to lie, there have been a few occasions at soccer (errr… football) matches that I have actually been scared. The worst one being once in Germany and we weren’t even at a match, just at a train station before a match, and my mother was so terrified she started to cry. Keep in mind, I said BEFORE a match.

So it is definitely a challenge to balance, but I suppose I support the 10,000 good people, and it’s a shame for the 1 jerk to ruin it for the others (this is just a sampling for % purposes and not my estimate of the total crowds, so let me clarify that now!). But I hope Qatar can find the proper balance to make the spectators want to come and have a good time, and minimize the jerks who will inevitably show up.

My fear is that there will be no good time allowed for the “10,000 good ones” based on the fear of what the 1 jerk will do.

Molten Metal
Molten Metal
7 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

There are thousands who are willing to watch without “A” #FYI

Win
Win
7 years ago
Reply to  Molten Metal

I agree but somehow I have a feeling there are tens of thousands who would prefer it 🙂

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

Abuse you mean 😉

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

I don’t mean to be a “Debbie-Downer” but alcohol abuse is a beast which does not discriminate. It has victims of all races, nationalities, religions, ages, and genders. You seem like a smart guy, so I’m sure you’re smart enough to know that unfortunately Muslim men and women are affected as well. Please don’t insinuate that non-Muslim sports-watching-fans are the only ones impacted.

I do appreciate the statistics you have shared, as all adults can benefit from the reminder.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

Well, I do apologize if I made it sound like this problem affects only certain groups or non-Muslims specifically.

In fact, the main reason you’ll find for why most locals dislike alcohol is precisely because of all the negative experiences we’ve had or heard of of people not being able to control their drinking, or as they say, hold their liqueur.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Thank you for your very real and sincere comment. I respect you Abdulrahman. No need to apologize, but thank you for being a gentleman and doing so anyway, I appreciate that.

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago

This is pretty cool and a great venue to watch the games. I guess that is what 3 million dollars buys you….

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
7 years ago

“But now, due to problems with the online system, registration is taking place at the nearby Doha Exhibition Center on the day of each match. ”

What does this mean for people who already registered and already have valid tickets? Can they still attend or do they need to re-register?

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

It’s hard to tell from the article; it almost sounds like if you have already printed the tickets and parking pass you might be okay? They just can’t take any new pre-registrations? But at the same time, it doesn’t sound too promising….

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
7 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

I thought I had read on the website that all pre-booking had now closed, so why would they be taking ANY registrations at all? It makes me think that people who didn’t get off their backside and book tickets quickly enough are complaining that they can’t go, so now the rules are being changed to suit them.

GCC Visitor
7 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

I just came out of the fan zone. I registered online and got an email with my registration details. I had them printed with me and had no issues attending the match

AnonymityBreedsContempt
AnonymityBreedsContempt
7 years ago

My daughter says they have those same cooling towers at her school. Is it really a new technology?

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
7 years ago

New technology for football stadiums maybe? But not new, new. Lol

GCC Visitor
7 years ago

Just came our of the Fan Zone. Overall, I would rate it at B+
1) Cooling was OK for spectators, but not sufficiently cool for footballers to run in the field.
2) Seats were disappointing. I hope Q22 will fix them.
3) No ATM and no way to pay with card
4) Screen was good

Diego
Diego
7 years ago

Great, I’m happy that it showed promise. I see they are having breaks for water etc in Brazil,which are firsts during wc play.So it’s hot there without relief in stadiums.

rye relb
rye relb
7 years ago

I am sorry but for those of you who live in a foot-thick bubble, 2022 and Qatar are not to be mistakenly put together in one sentence no more. I am truly not hating, it is just that the decision has been made already and about to go public. CONGRATS for the cooling systems! they look fabulous.

Saleem
Saleem
7 years ago
Reply to  rye relb

you have inside info?

rye relb
rye relb
7 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Maybe 🙂

Win
Win
7 years ago
Reply to  rye relb

Interesting….can you tell us more ? If what you say is officially announced; all the infrastructure developments or huge portion of projects that are underway will come to an immediate stop.

Observant One
Observant One
7 years ago

Any one else notice the two men are in shorts showing their knees…..

wee_johnnie
wee_johnnie
7 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Must be very brave if the temperature inside is as cold as being suggested that a sweater is required.

Observant One
Observant One
7 years ago
Reply to  wee_johnnie

Need some people handing out reflect respect pamphlets I think…

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
7 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

I thought that was a sexist campaign only intended for persecuting women. Don’t think they care about all the indecently dressed men.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Is it too late for me to call the hotline and report them?! Do you think there is a statute of limitations on that? Oh boy… better hurry… now where did I put that number!!! PANIC 🙂

Ben
Ben
7 years ago

I am all for these ‘family’ fan zones, especially in 2022.
Has everyone see the fan zone on Copacabana? It looks incredible. I know that will be impossible to replicate here, but I watched many games during the 2006 WC in Germany in the fans parks. They were simple, but provided what everyone going there wanted! A big screen, lots to drink and a bit of food! Plenty of these and seperate family ones will be fine for 2022.

Molten Metal
Molten Metal
7 years ago

There is only one thing certain in this country, Whatever Qatar do for the successful delivery of the FIFA world cup, surely there will be lot of hatred propaganda from the so called “racists”

AEC
AEC
7 years ago
Reply to  Molten Metal

It’s like football – if you play with the big boys you’re going to get hurt.

rye relb
rye relb
7 years ago
Reply to  Molten Metal

Enslaving people is more racist than calling bribery with thousands of gun-smoking proofs. Do I expect you to understand that point? Absolutely not.

Molten Metal
Molten Metal
7 years ago
Reply to  rye relb

Do prisoners of Guantanamo bay fall under this category of enslaved people ?

rye relb
rye relb
7 years ago
Reply to  Molten Metal

Absolutely, both Guantanamo & Qatar share that practice,

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
7 years ago
Reply to  Molten Metal

Wow, some people really are filled with hate and negativity! Why don’t you try contributing to the discussion at hand rather than hurling insults at people?

Molten Metal
Molten Metal
7 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Yes absolutely right. If you read DN comments regularly you will understand there is so much hatred and negativity for each any every news about Qatar.

Win
Win
7 years ago

I have a nagging feeling this is a trail run to see how an alcohol designated fan zone will be set up as the world cup gets closer. It will certainly be a logistical nightmare if visitors are expected to register online to enter this fan zone and I also expect prices of alcohol to rise sharply as the world cup nears. Alcohol is already expensive here compared to many other western nations and I expect with further increase in prices; visitors will be discouraged to spend money boozing. We have not even considered the hotel accommodation cost which will also put a huge hole in the pockets. Since I left Qatar and when I tell my fellow colleagues here in Europe on the prices of alcohol…most are shocked. I expect many unsuspecting visitors who will come to Qatar for the world cup to get a shock of their lives when they see the prices here.

Ms. Hala
7 years ago

I can’t believe I missed Wonho Chung! =(

Guest
Guest
7 years ago

Good news…!
What was the outside ambient temperature during this experiment?
What was the biological reactions in human body when a person moves outside after the match, (due to sudden change in temperature if any)?

BBCA
BBCA
7 years ago

Its one thing to cool maybe 1,000 people what is the capacity of some of the stadiums perhaps 50,000 or 60,000. It is quite a different scenario to cool that many people.

Guest
Guest
7 years ago

Good news…!
Does anyone care,
1. What was the outside ambient temperature while conducting this experiment?
2. Is there any study conducted for the biological/ physical changes while moving out the spectators after the show (due to sudden change in temperature)? Or is there any middle zone for waiting ?

DExp
DExp
7 years ago

Can this technology be used in Karwa bus shelters and labour camps as well?

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