The Qatar World Cup is a win for in-person events
The Qatar 2022 final game didn’t start as pulsating as it ended. A goal and an assist from Messi; two goals from Mbappe and a game destined to crown the former as football’s greatest of all time became too close to call, forcing us all to the edge of our seats.
So, it dragged on and got into extra time, testing both managers’ tactical nous and both teams’ professional discipline.
But little did we expect the thrills that lay ahead. Lionel Messi, the outgoing king, was going to stamp his authority in the play and fired home Argentina’s third goal. We thought that was it; that was the burial of a tense encounter. But someone else, not Lionel, was in that field. Twice, he had proved how much of a force he was. He is the incoming king, or at least firmly in contention for soccer royalty. Kylian Mbappe was not going to kneel for the mantle. He was going to grab it forcefully. And his equalizing goal became a declaration of the intention to grab the glory. 3-3!
As the extra time lingered, Kolo Mouani almost sealed it for France in the 120th minute; but nearly wasn’t enough, as his head narrowly missed what would have been a stunning header. And you know who pulled in that ball from the left flank? You’re right. Mbappe!
Both teams went level, and it was time for penalties. Argentina won that section and the final part of the match and was crowned the world champions, sealing Lionel Messi’s place in the pantheon and throwing him up as the game’s greatest ever. And with Argentina’s well-deserved biggest global football trophy, the Qatar 2022 World Cup tournament ended.
Qatar 2022, although controversial on many fronts, ranks as the most family-friendly world cup in history. This is tied to the country’s insistence that fans should not drink alcohol in the stadium or remove their clothes in the open.
The lessons for event professionals
Every successful in-person event, especially mega ones, leaves event professionals with lessons they can apply to their corporate events. The Qatar World Cup taught us a few of them:
1. Planning is key
Every successful in-person event begins with a plan. What we saw in the last month in Qatar took twelve years to plan and execute. That also raises the importance of documentation in every planning process. You do not carry a twelve-year plan on your head. You must write it down so other team members can always access it. Also, in the event of a team member’s death, relocation, transfer, or even resignation, the project is not affected.
2. Collaboration with all stakeholders helps
Involving all stakeholders in your in-person event planning stage helps seamless execution. In the case of Qatar, local and international stakeholders played their part in the unforgettable world cup. These stakeholders provided guidance and experience, which helped in no small way. A good example is the British Royal Air Force that helped provide air security in Qatar. And also, FIFA’s support to Qatar when it suddenly announced a ban on the sale of alcohol within the stadium. In every in-person event, working closely with stakeholders helps deliver an optimum outcome.
3. Accessibility helps with attendee experience
In-person events are for humans and should be easy for humans to access. One of the remarkable things about Qatar 2022 is that it was condensed, allowing people to watch more than one match in a day. The thinking behind condensing the stadia within proximity is commendable. This is a lesson event professionals need to imbibe, especially when they face a massive event that might force participants to stick with just one activity, as a result of distance, rather than enjoying as many activities as they like when they are all nearby.
4. Try to innovate
Excite your in-person event attendees with innovation. Tweak previous settings. Reorganize what comes first and what comes later. Let your attendees know how you work hard to make their in-person events memorable. Qatar is a hot country, and many who opposed their bid to host the tournament cited the high temperature as a strong reason. But Qatar brought innovation to stadium construction, installing air conditioners in seven of the eight stadia for the world cup using solar energy. Another innovative idea was Stadium 974 in Doha, a port-side structure built with the intention to dismantle it after the tournament. Rather than tie huge sums of money down on a permanent stadium that will not be used after the tournament, the Qatari cup planners opted for a special-purpose stadium which they will dismantle after the event.
2022 began with event attendees strongly desiring to attend in-person rather than virtual or hybrid events, and now it is ending with the most attended in-person event – the World Cup in Qatar. And as those in the events industry watching global events trends, it is essential to absorb some lessons from the success of the world cup.