Football by the sea: Fans rent $20,000-a-night Dubai superyachts to watch World Cup

Do you think you have seen it all? Football fans are here to prove you wrong.

Some football fans are set to fork out on superyachts in Dubai that cost $20,000 per night to watch the much-anticipated World Cup matches on enormous screens while sailing in the Arabian Gulf, according to reports.

Some fans are even topping it off with an exclusive Michelin-starred chef for a full-board, and rather unusual, luxury experience.

As hundreds of thousands of football enthusiasts prepare to utilise nearby nations as bases for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, Dubai, which is only a short flight away, anticipates an extra boom in tourism.

While fans without tickets are planning to go to fan zones with large screens to catch a glimpse of the action in the emirate, some supporters are splashing cash to ensure they can watch their teams in luxury.

People are clamoring to board Xclusive Vessels’ fleet of 70 yachts, the largest private yacht charter company in the UAE, to enjoy the world’s best football tournament in style.

The company’s Managing Director Amit Patel told Al Arabiya English that preliminary data indicates they would experience a 300 percent increase in bookings during the month-long tournament in November.

During the World Cup, he said, the company is expecting to take 3,000 people out on Dubai’s waters each day, with many football fans renting the 43-meter superyacht -the firm’s crowning achievement for a private overnight charter.

Onboard Stardom, a tri-deck superyacht with an overnight hire for $20,000, visitors may experience a Michelin-starred chef serving gourmet meals, a Skydeck, five opulent cabins, a private fine-dining space, an onboard bar, Sky Lounge, and sunbathing deck.

“We are expecting a more than 300 percent in yacht bookings in November and December mainly due to visitors for the World Cup and Qatar who are also looking for leisure activities in Dubai,” said Patel.

“We expect a huge influx of tourists who are coming from all around the world from different geographies and different demographics. We have gotten a lot of requests to watch football on board.”

For groups of fans who wish to spend a few hours on the boat watching games while cruising through some of Dubai’s most famous landmarks, like JBR, the Atlantis, the Burj al Arab, and Dubai Marina, Xclusive Yachts has also introduced a ‘shared service’ option.

Shared football rush

The UAE, especially Dubai, is witnessing an exceptional boom in tourism as hundreds of thousands of fans flood its hotels, restaurants, and planes for the World Cup. The country is less than a two-hour away plane ride, and with at least 30 return flights a day to Doha during the tournament, makes a perfect option for fans looking for cheaper accommodation.

A million World Cup supporters are expected to visit Dubai, according to the Dubai Sports Council. Qatar also anticipates around the same number.

The neighbouring emirate has designated fan zones at parks, beaches, and the financial district in preparation for the rush, and hotels are promoting special deals.

Dubai’s International Financial Center (DIFC) launched The Football Park, which will screen live matches for visitors as they dine in Michelin Star restaurants.

The luxury venture will also be complemented by a concierge, a chauffeur-drive service, and the option to watch the games with a celebrity or former football player.

Art Dubai Group is organising an “on-field experience” as both regional and international football fanatics are expected to pass by for the first World Cup in the Middle East.

Additionally, the UAE, like other nations in the region, is providing affordable multiple-entry visas to anyone who has World Cup match tickets.

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