Populous’s Qiddiya Stadium in Saudi Arabia showcases the future of fun


Populous has unveiled new designs for its loudly neon stadium for the tourist megaproject dubbed “Qiddiya.” Named after Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the venue in Saudi Arabia is financially backed by Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC), a joint-stock company which Salman is a board chairman on. The design plans come after the same firm unveiled plans for Qiddiya City, a district wholly designed for gaming and Esports, in 2023. 

The stadium invokes the same feeling as a screencap from Cyberpunk 2077, but the futuristic, LED-filled coliseum is best acknowledged as a play castle. Filled with full-length screens and room for laser shows, this venue could also best be seen as an Elon Musk and Grimes getaway destination. It will play host to myriad sports and entertainment shows and events, among these, football, boxing, Esports, concerts, and theater.

Sitting on top of a 50,000-meter-high clifftop, the stadium is set up for breathtaking views of the surrounding city and desert environ. Just 40 minutes from Ridiyah, Saudi Arabia’s capital, the venue is meant to be a tourist destination.

The stadium is situated to seep down the edge of a desert cliff. (Courtesy Populous)

With a retractable roof acting as a portal, glimpsing into a futuristic city, the stadium acts as a centerpiece to its surrounding projects. The Titanic-sized stadium is slated to host up to 45,000 seats and comply with all FIFA requirements. QIC is hoping the venue will be ready for the kickoff in regional matches like the 2034 Asian Games, and an international bid for the 2034 FIFA World Cup.

The stadium plans to make a climate-controlled facility and will lower usual emissions with a lake underneath for run-offs and cooling. Though the eco-friendly attempt veils nicely with a fun-spirited arena, the stadium needs to compete with NEOM, an accessible zero emissions planned city not too far from away.

Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Stadium Concert ©Populous
In addition to Esports the stadium will be equipped to host football, concerts, and other performances. (Courtesy Populous)

NEOM’s linear city creates tranquility from a torn reputation of Saudi Arabian land known for carbon and oil overuse. While NEOM looks foster harmony among civilians and hopes to attract those looking for a peaceful sustainable environment, QIC strives to bring harmony to civilians and tourists, just with added adrenaline and an atmosphere of healthy tension full of screaming fans. 

QIC plans to attract over 7.6 million tourists to the stadium each year. Given the firm’s added line-up of future projects, one being an Esports arena on the upper plateau of the cliff and theme parks below it. QIC follows a heavy “Power of Play” motto that allows for their innovative projects to destine adventure and excitement for the world to enjoy without burdens. Continuing a long tradition of making art for enjoyment.





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