Qatar is doing a good job of establishing itself as the Middle East’s sporting hub. It has already hosted its fair share of high-profile international competitions, and this activity is only going to increase as it moves towards the headline year of 2022. It’s also home to a variety of sports clubs, many of which are in the process of upgrading their own facilities.
Among them is Qatar’s oldest sports club, Al Ahli SC. The new 12,000-seat Hamad Bin Khalifa stadium is home to the club’s top flight football team, but is also equipped for other sporting pursuits such as basketball, tennis, handball and athletics. Following a competitive selection process, Doha-based systems integrator, AVT, was chosen to design and install the A/V and broadcast systems for the whole facility. Alongside the headline main stadium PA, this also included solutions for the multi-purpose hall, conference room, mosque and administration building.
“This project was under the Ministry of Culture & Sports (MOCS) because the Al Ahli Sports Club Stadium will be used as a training stadium during the 2022 World Cup,” says Hadi Arzouni, managing director of AVT. “MOCS are involved in all sports venues within the country to ensure they meet the high standards and international requirement set down by the likes of FIFA and the IOC.”
The main PA is the jewel in the crown for any stadium project, and at Al Ahli it provided an interesting challenge. For many stadia, clusters of cabinets are hung from the front lip of the roof to cover the seating area. However, only the main stand of the Hamad Bin Khalifa stadium has a roof and as such an alternate solution needed to be found.
To solve this challenge AVT found a variety of mounting points to ensure the whole stadium could be covered with a distributed system of Renkus-Heinz TRX121/9 speakers and PN112SUB subs. In the main stand it was able to use the lip of the roof to hang the weatherproof cabinets. While on the opposite side, a large wall running the length of the pitch provided the optimum installation position. Finally, the speakers covering either end of the stadium have been flown from regularly spaced poles around the rear of the seating area firing down towards the pitch.
“Kiran Dias, our sound engineer did the initial design for the stadium. When the project was awarded to us, we tweaked some of the design based on the existing site conditions. From there we took over as the project team,’ recalls Julien Allag, AVT’s project manager for the installation. ‘Renkus-Heinz is a reliable brand from the US. It also has adaptability to the weather,” a particularly pertinent point as our visit coincided with a heavy thunderstorm. “We have installed weatherproof speakers for the stadium with pig tails so there’s no exposed connection. On a day like today you can see the water dripping off the speakers in the VIP seating area but we are not worried because they are weather-proof.”
Sources for the system include a rack-mounted RCF MS1033 CD player and a variety of Sennheiser wireless mics. Power is via a rack of QSC amplifiers and control is from a Allen & Heath GLD-80 digital console. A short walk through the main stand leads to the second major area of the install, the indoor multi-purpose hall. With the same Renkus-Heinz TRX121/9 speakers, Sennheiser mics and QSC Q-Sys control with Allen & Heath mixing – this time on a Zed22FX – there is a familiar feel to the installed solution.
“The main part of the installation took us from March to September,” concludes Mr Allag. “We have a good team who worked well together on the project. I’m very happy with how everything has turned out.”