In 2021, we helped to plan and run the historic grand opening ceremony of the first-ever FIFA Arab Cup in Al Bayt Stadium, Qatar. Host nation Qatar wanted to showcase the cultural richness of the Arab region through traditional themes, scenes and costumes, which meant our lighting and visual effects had to perfectly complement the pyrotechnics and beautifully choreographed performances.
We spent a lot of time in the run up to the event carrying out meticulous research, which included building a relationship with Al Bayt’s architect and three months of remote planning meetings with the event and venue teams before our team set foot inside it.
Our detailed planning phase and the strong relationships we built with key event contacts meant that our team had a firm grasp on the potential of this vast venue, including the all-important live and temporary load limits. Collaboration was vital: between ES:ME’s engineers and the wider team, the event’s management agency, the stadium events team and operators, and the venue owners themselves.
A mammoth task? Perhaps, but in the words of CEO Alex Wuerful, “A few calls later and we had lined up the strategy.”
With rigging capabilities established and safety top of mind, we installed six 140m stretches of catenary wires across the stadium’s roof, plus Showtex roll-up screens.
Inside the stadium, our riggers worked with fifty D8 Chain hoists (48m-60m chains), nine Cyberhoist Variable speed hoists and approximately 600 metres of trussing.
We installed the rendered lighting setup using 36 Robe Tetra Bar 2, 120 Clay Paky B-Eye K20, 72 Elation Proteus Hybrid, 42 Robe BMFL Blade and 40 Astera Titan Tubes.
This was the first Arab Cup organised by FIFA, and we are proud to have been a part of this moment in history. The success of this large-scale, impressive opening ceremony proves what the Gulf region is capable of and the diverse ways in which the Arab spirit can be expressed.