While football fans can expect screenings and pub grub galore across the UAE for the Fifa World Cup, some venues are preparing for kick-off in dedicated fan zones.
These typically serve refreshments, music and even merchandise in a set-up that screams football fever.
Here are a few ways to catch all the action in Qatar when the biggest spectacle in sport begins in November.
Expo City – Fan City
Expo City Dubai has carved out a dedicated space, called Fan City, for football fans to enjoy Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 in all its vibrant glory. The arena promises giant screens, themed entertainment and a carnivalesque ambience to appeal to adults and children alike.
Fan City will span two zones. Jubilee Park can host 10,000 visitors and is a family-friendly set-up, complete with jumbo screens, bean bags, food trucks, DJs and live entertainment, table-top games, foot volley courts, penalty kick activations and face-painting corners.
The zone at Al Wasl will kick-off to coincide with the round of 16, from December 3, and offers a more premium experience, with VIP hospitality packages and VVIP box seats on offer alongside general admission tickets. This zone can seat 2,500 guests and will broadcast the games on four super-sized screens, augmented by in-game graphics projected across the Al Wasl dome. The arena will also ring out with team anthems, a flag-raising ceremony, and pre and post-game entertainment.
November 20 to December 18; 5pm-1.30am on weekdays, noon-1.30am on Saturday and Sunday (Jubilee Park fan zone); 6pm-1.30am (Al Wasl fan zone); from Dh30 (free for children under 13); dubai.platinumlist.net
BudX Fifa Fan Festival
Dubai has been selected to host one of the six flagship International Fifa Fan Festivals, alongside London, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Seoul.
Running for the duration of World Cup 2022 at a custom-created arena in Dubai Harbour, the festival can host up to 10,000 people, and will screen all games on gigantic 330-square-metre screens equipped with 4D audio. Fans can also enjoy live performances and DJ sets, food and drink, as well as plenty of games and activities in between matches.
Fifa partner adidas will set up its Al Rihla Camp within the venue, a 1,050-square-metre space that allows fans to watch matches, test products, meet celebrities and pick up merchandise. The brand will also organise entertainment and activities in collaboration with regional football clubs and communities.
White Dubai will operate Pure White, a nightclub that'll entertain guests from 9pm to 4am, from Thursday to Sunday, while Brazilian singer-songwriter Ludmilla will perform at BudX on December 5.
The venue will open two hours before the kick-off every day and will allow entry to those who are 21 and above.
November 20 to December 18; until 3am; from Dh79; Dubai Harbour; dubai.platinumlist.net
Precision Football x Press Play Fanzone
Precision Football — a venue dedicated to the sport — will be taken over by Press Play, a multimedia platform aimed at the exploration of music, and converted into a fan zone.
The facility will show all 63 games on a 250-square-metre screen and promises fans stadium-quality sound and ambience, plus plenty of food and drink. Seating options include everything from comfy sofas to customised dugouts, which fans can book complete with their own branding, as well as VIP platforms that include individual screens and table-side hospitality.
Above all, the end game is to combine music and sports. “Music has the power to create a memory, to change a situation, to evoke an emotion — good, bad or indifferent — and we want to explore the role music has in people’s lives, on cultural moments, in shaping the world and the football season seemed like the perfect launch pad," says Amy Wilkinson-Lough, creator of Press Play.
The fan zone will be open to all ages until 7pm, and will host family-friendly football-centric activations and training sessions.
November 19 to December 18; noon-1am; from Dh395; Ibn Battuta; 058 594 2383; www.pressplaywithus.com
JBR Football Village
Water babies need to swim no further than the JBR Football Village being hosted at the infinity pool and private beach areas at DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach. Catch each match on two massive HD screens, and flex your football and beach volleyball skills in between.
Live DJs keep the tempo well up, while food and drinks kiosks will dish out shawarma, burgers, hotdogs, wings, loaded nachos, and mini fish and chips.
November 20 to December 18; from Dh100 (redeemable against food and drink); The Walk, Dubai Marina; 055 166 8092
McGettigan's x Dubai Media City Amphitheatre
Irish pub chain McGettigan’s will take over Dubai Media City Amphitheatre to host Fanzone, a space dedicated to screening the matches.
Organisers say the UAE’s largest TV screen will be installed at the venue, allowing up to 5,000 fans to watch the action from locations across the park. As well as showing the games, the venue will host live music and family-friendly activities. The Dh150 entry fee is redeemable against food and drink.
Seating options include VIP booths, picnic tables and a dedicated family zone, with picnic benches and more screens to watch the games.
As the football tournament is running into December, there will also be a Winterfest Zone made up of a snow park, skating rink, festive market, Santa’s grotto, Christmas jumper party and festive movie screenings. Times are yet to be confirmed.
November 20 to December 18; from Dh50; Dubai Media City, Dubai; mcgettigans.com/fanzone
City Centre Mirdif Stadium
City Centre Mirdif will unveil a stadium-style arena on its rooftop in time for the World Cup on November 20. The family-friendly fan zone can accommodate 700 people across its dual match-screening zone and an additional 150 people in its food and beverage zone.
The area will also host football-themed activations, child-friendly activities, and competitive games. Entry is free until December 2, after which tickets for the round of 16 matches cost between Dh50 and Dh150, which is redeemable against food and drink. Tickets can be purchased from the mall itself.
November 20 to December 18; 1pm-1am; free until December 2, from Dh50 after December 3; Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, Mirdif; www.citycentremirdif.com
Ruinart Lounge at Drift Beach Dubai
The beachfront destination will screen all World Cup matches in a chic lounge, custom-built in collaboration with Ruinart. Open to 60 guests at a time only, the venue seeks to offer fans a luxurious option to watch the games alongside enjoying table-side service and a menu of light bites with a minimum spend of Dh500 per person.
The big screen will be placed on Drift Beach's plush lawn on the private grounds of the One&Only Royal Mirage, and the venue will be open until the last game ends each night. Guests aged 16 to 20 need to be accompanied by an adult; children below 16 are not allowed.
November 20 to December 18; from noon; from Dh500; Al Sufouh Road, Jumeirah Beach; 04 315 2200; email@example.com
Stadium Lounge, City Walk
Set up over a 3,200-square-metre ground in the City Walk Green Planet area, the outdoor Stadium Lounge will offer football fans a 96-square-metre screen alongside plenty of perks. Some of these include: free parking and a valet service; a PlayStation tournament before the semi-final and final matches; a retail area for merchandise and memorabilia; an array of food and drink, including snacks and fine-dining, options; regular football freestyle shows; and a live DJ, who will celebrate any goals scored with thumping music and a smoke machine. There is no age restriction for this fan zone and little ones can enjoy face painting and other activities.
November 20 to December 18; noon-1am; free entry; City Walk Green Planet
Hilton Dubai Jumeirah
The waterfront hotel in Dubai Marina is gearing up to open the “mega” Beach Stadium, a 1,600-square-metre space launching on November 20.
The outdoor venue will have the capacity to host 1,000, and will feature several large screens across four separate fan zones called The Beach, Tiger Bar, Wavebreaker and The Garden.
The Beach fan zone is the largest of the four, with the capacity to host 500 guests, who can enjoy comfy sunbeds and views of Ain Dubai as they watch the matches on 32-square-metre screens. Tiger Bar can accommodate 150 guests and is designed for large groups and corporate get-togethers. The Wavebreaker deck will double as a live barbecue station, while Hilton’s private garden will offer shisha.
The Beach Stadium will put on a full roster of entertainment, including live music and activities for children. There are no age restrictions or entry fee for this fan zone, although a minimum spend on food and beverage will be applicable for certain games.
November 20 to December 18; noon to late; free entry; The Walk JBR; 04 318 2319
The Football Park, DIFC
Menus put together by Michelin-lauded restaurants. Private lounges with butlers. Chauffeur services. The Dubai International Financial Centre is going all out for the World Cup with the launch of The Football Park.
Located at the podium level of Gate Avenue, this fan zone aims to provide “a luxurious viewing experience”, complete with the aforementioned services, plus a dedicated concierge and even opportunities to watch certain games with celebrities and former football players and managers, including Robbie Fowler, Bacary Sagna, Harry Redknapp, Teddy Sheringham and Mikael Silvestre.
The experience is being organised by the Art Dubai Group, which oversees numerous cultural events in the region, and Hoko Agency, which operates businesses within entertainment, sport and F&B.
Saleh Al Akrabi, chief executive of DIFC Property Management, said: “We are excited to give visitors and corporate guests an opportunity to experience a premium way to watch and be part of the world’s greatest football tournament. We will ensure The Football Park experience is as legendary as the game itself ... the next best thing to the live, on-field experience.”
Private bookings aside, the park will welcome walk-in guests with no entry fee and no minimum spend, and it will also broadcast the games on an outdoor screen, as well as hosting games, activities and entertainment during the tournament. Tickets are on sale now, and the park will open an hour before the first match on each day.
November 20 to December 18; from Dh350 for tables; Gate Avenue, the DIFC; book.chatfood.io
Address Beach Resort
The beachfront resort in JBR will set up an air-conditioned tent dedicated to football fans for the duration of the World Cup. Located on the hotel’s Events Lawn, the 250-seater tent will feature multiple screens and be decorated in the colours of the participating countries and teams.
Food and beverages will be served, redeemable against the Dh50 minimum spend per person. The menu includes vegetable spring rolls, chicken popcorn, fried calamari and grilled Boston sliders. Live entertainment will also be on hand.
The tent will welcome guests on a first-come, first-served basis, with those below 21 allowed in before 8pm to enjoy early kick-offs with the family.
November 20 to December 18; 12.30pm-2am; from Dh50; JBR, Dubai; firstname.lastname@example.org
Soul Beach DXB
The Ibiza-inspired beach club is set to transform into a massive fan zone to show World Cup matches from November 20. Two huge screens will be set up at either end of the venue — one near the pool and one on the beach.
Seating options are plush and plentiful, and include beach beds, pool beds (for up to two), the on-site resto-lounge (for groups of four), pergola seating (for groups of five) and pool cabanas (for groups of six). Prices start from Dh300 and go up to Dh3,000 for the cabanas. The venue is for adults only.
November 20 to December 18; 10am–2am; from Dh300; JA The Resort, Jebel Ali Freezone; www.soulbeachdxb.com
Scroll through the gallery below to see more of the World Cup 2022 stadiums in Qatar
A version of this article was originally published on September 27, 2022