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Qiddiya unveils plans for ‘futuristic’ 45,000-seat stadium

Featured image credit: Qiddiya

More details have emerged today (Monday) on Prince Mohammed bin Salman Stadium, a new multi-purpose venue that will form part of Qiddiya, one of Saudi Arabia’s ‘giga-projects’ under its Vision 2030 masterplan.

The 45,000-seat stadium would be located in Qiddiya City on the 200-metre-high Tuwaiq cliff near the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Qiddiya said the “futuristic” venue would be capable of hosting some of Saudi Arabia’s biggest sports, entertainment and cultural events.

The stadium will serve as the home of Saudi Pro League clubs Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr and is one of the proposed venues for Saudi Arabia’s 2034 FIFA World Cup bid. Qiddiya said the stadium could also be used during Riyadh’s staging of the 2034 Asian Games.

Saudi Arabia will also host football’s Asian Cup in 2027 and the Qiddiya stadium has been included as one of the proposed venues for the tournament.

The stadium features an immersive design and “unique” technological features that will seek to enhance the fan experience. Global architectural firm Populous has designed the stadium, which Qiddiya claims will be the world’s first fully integrated venue with a combined retractable roof, pitch and LED wall.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman Stadium would be capable of transforming into different ‘event modes’ in a matter of hours, while its LED wall would showcase live event broadcasts, HD films and laser shows.

Qiddiya said the stadium will be capable of hosting events all year round through climate-controlled facilities such as an eco-friendly cooling lake that will be built directly underneath the venue. The lake will use rainwater captured from the stadium and the surrounding area to pre-cool the air conditioning system.

The project has been announced after Qiddiya last month unveiled plans for what it claims will be a pioneering new gaming and esports district in Qiddiya City. The new stadium would provide direct access to the district.

The district, which has also been designed by Populous, aims to attract gamers from around the world and cement Saudi Arabia as the “global epicentre” of the gaming and esports sector. It will boast four dedicated esports venues and seek to become a year-round venue for events.

Qiddiya said that Prince Mohammed bin Salman Stadium will attract an estimated 7.6 million annual visitors. More project announcements are expected in the coming weeks.

Abdullah bin Nasser Aldawood, managing director of Qiddiya Investment Company, said: “Our ambition is for Qiddiya City to become a global destination for entertainment, sports and culture and this iconic new stadium will be at its very heart.

“The futuristic venue aims to reinvent the traditional stadium concept and embody the true spirit of Qiddiya’s Power of Play philosophy. It uses state-of-the-art technology and innovative, world-leading design to put the spectator at the centre of the experience.

“It will become a bucket-list destination for fans and enthusiasts across the world, hosting major events from across the world of sport and entertainment.”

Last month’s announcement on the gaming and esports district came days after Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Prime Minister and chairman of the board of directors of the Qiddiya Investment Company, launched the urban design for Qiddiya City and Qiddiya’s brand.

Qiddiya’s first offering will be Qiddiya City, a “one-of-a-kind” destination located on the outskirts of Riyadh. Construction is progressing with contracts worth SAR10bn (£2.01bn/€2.44bn/$2.67bn) awarded.

With 60,000 buildings in an overall area of 360 square kilometres, it will eventually host over 600,000 residents.

In September, Bin Salman dismissed claims that the Kingdom’s vast investment in sports events and properties represents ‘sportswashing’, stating that he “doesn’t care” about this label so long as it continues to boost GDP.

Saudi Arabia is set to be awarded rights for the 2034 World Cup after it was the only country to declare its interest in hosting following Football Australia’s withdrawal in October.