Host City

Host City

This article first appeared in the June 2010 issue

For the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, Filmsport produced the bid video and Designsport is designing the overlay. Together, they talk to Host City.

Designsport is a specialist overlay design firm set up by the Australian architect Samantha Cotterell. With headquarters in Qatar and Australia, the company works on the world’s biggest events.

The next sporting event to capture the world’s attention will be the Doha 2011 AFC Asian Cup in January, which Designsport has been involved in from the bid stage when Samantha Cotterell was approached by the Qatar Football Association to be the bid architect, art director and to produce a video for the bid.

The new company that resulted from the contract, Filmsport, is operated from Italy by the film producer and director Marcus Cotterell. He says: “Filmsport and Designsport’s work consists essentially in turning ideas into reality. Filmsport in some way embodies the Designsport philosophy of ‘every dream has a design’ for it is an in-house project and therefore one of our own creative dreams. Filmsport is also the marketing and communication department of Designsport.”

“There are a lot of similarities between sport and art, such as dreams, discipline, motivation and determination; and individual and collective performance, which are spectacular, theatrical, full of drama and pathos that accompany the rise and fall of legends and nations. Filmsport offers the original perspective of ‘sport as an art form’.”

Video is a powerful communication tool that has become an important focus of major event bids. Bid videos target a very specific audience of decision makers. Through the use of powerful imagery and sound, a video offers the all-stimulating ‘wow’ effect to showcase their cause, to reveal how the nation feels: how important is that event to them?”

Winning the Asian Football Cup

Filmsport’s bid video helped the Qatar Football Association to win the right to host the 2011 Asian Football Cup in Doha. Although this is the second biggest football event in the world, there was not a huge budget for the bid video. Marcus Cotterell says: “Sporting authorities are not necessarily accustomed to the ins and outs of communication technology or video production, and therefore their bid file budgets may not reflect the true costs of major audio/visual production.”

However, today’s technology makes it possible to produce spectacular first class results. Filmsport was responsible for the entire concept and production of the video. “They wanted to put together the elements of the tradition of the country with the fact that they are a very powerful, modern and fast moving nation. So I invented this little story between the two generations, a grandfather that takes a little boy to train. It’s all based on one single moment of the penalty.”

The main pressure on the project was time. “To develop seconds sometimes takes two or three weeks. I had 11 days to post-produce that video. It’s a huge amount of work to do in such a short time – the music, the editing, the 3D and the special effects.”

After the success of the bid video, Filmsport was asked to produce a promotional video and logo animation for the 2011 Asian Football Cup. “They called us to do the 3D logo animation and just recently we were called back to do the final draw event. It’s an ongoing relationship and that’s the most satisfying part.”

Designsport is providing overlay for the 2011 Asian Football Cup. An exciting feature of this project is the fan zone, parts of which will be activated during the 2010 World Cup. Samantha Cotterell says: “There will be an exciting programme for the community and sports lovers alike to join in the flavour of the sport and Asian cultures. The programme is of course a secret. Nothing like that has been done in the Arab region before.”

As with the bid video, the biggest pressure on the overlay project is time. “The organising committee did not bring in overlay early enough. The only saving element in this is that we know all the venues because we’ve done events in them before and I have a good overlay team who have also worked on these stadia with me before,” she says.

Aiming for the World Cup

The month before the Asian Football Cup, FIFA will make its decision on whether to award Qatar the hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup. Samantha says: “FIFA will be watching the organisation of our Asian Cup very closely. We are not designing just for the event itself; we are conscious that what we are designing is part of Qatar’s opportunities to showcase its abilities to successfully host major events.”

As the rest of the world struggles to recover from financial meltdown, Qatar is looking like an attractive host. “Suddenly, major international sporting bodies are looking towards Qatar and its die-hard ambition to become the sporting nation of the Middle East, as it has the resources few other countries now have. It looks as if the wave may be rolling in for Qatar and that it will finally be offered the attention it deserves,” she says.

Another strength is Qatar’s self belief. Marcus says: “You breathe a very different feeling there, a national sense of pride. There’s a huge unity and they all work towards this, they believe in it and they know they are going to get there. They are feeling ready to invite the world and they want to put Qatar on the map. That’s the key – how badly do you want it? From Qatar’s point of view, they are incredibly determined and they focus a lot on giving a vision to this determination.”

Another strong contender for the 2022 and 2018 World Cups is the Cotterell’s home nation. Marcus sees similarities in Australia’s bid to Qatar’s. He says: “They are both countries that put a lot of emphasis on their infrastructure, in which they are world leaders. They are very strong candidates because they invest heavily in sport; they are safe countries and they can offer a vision for the future.”

Samantha Cotterell thinks it is time Australia hosted another megaevent. “Australia would just be a fantastic place to have a World Cup. Australia is a great sporting nation and football has become a very popular sport, bringing it from being the ‘immigrant’s sport’ to now a reason for national pride. Australia, with its natural beauty and safe environs, would provide the perfect stage for a great personal and sporting experience for the global football community. We did the Sydney Olympics so well that the World Cup would be in very good hands.”