The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has launched the ticket sales process for its 2019 World Championships in Doha, with new pricing strategies introduced as organisers seek to prioritise strong attendances over profits.

Qatar will host the World Championships, the first to be staged in the Middle East, from September 27 to October 6 at the revamped Khalifa International Stadium. Tickets went on sale yesterday (Sunday), with prices starting from QAR 60 (£13/€15/$16).

Major sporting events held in Qatar have traditionally been met with small crowds, most recently the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships, which concluded in Doha earlier this month. However, since revealing to the world the state-of-the-art Khalifa International Stadium and showcasing the revolutionary in-stadium air-conditioning technology during the one-year countdown celebrations in September, organisers said they have received significant levels of interest.

Fans from Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cameroon, Chile, South Africa and Sri Lanka, as well as close to Doha as Azerbaijan, Jordan, Syria and Tunisia, have all sought ticket information and registered for tickets.

Doha 2019 will allow fans to select from an array of options which allow them to follow their champion, sit in traditional Arab cushioned Majlis seating or choose finish line seats. For those new to athletics, affordable taster options have been made available to purchase. Family and group discounts are also on offer.

Individual day tickets range from QAR 60 for category A open seating, to Follow Your Champion tickets priced at QAR 120 and QAR 150, with finish line seats set at QAR 300. A discount of 25 per cent can can be applied to a family package of two adults and two children aged between two and 12.

A 15 per cent discount will be applied to group bookings for between 10 and 49 tickets, rising to 18 per cent for more than 50 tickets. Fans requiring wheelchair access will receive a 50 per cent discount, with those accompanying them entitled to 20 per cent off their tickets.

Speaking at the launch event of Doha 2019, vice-chairman and director general of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and vice-president of the IAAF, Dahlan Al Hamad, said: “As the pricing and flexible ticket offerings show, our approach is simple. We want to make it as easy and enjoyable for as many people as possible to be our guests.

“We want people from all corners of the world to come and experience the warmth of our hospitality, our world-class facilities and our pleasant September climate. We want fans to witness the best athletes on the planet compete head to head over 10 dramatic days of competition and, at the same time, get to know the people and the real Qatar. A young, ambitious, safe and progressive nation.”

In the coming months, the LOC will move forward in the next phase of its preparations and outreach programme by finalising full travel packages to Doha, including flights, hotels and transfers. The official championship travel packages are expected to be launched in January.

In an effort to refresh the Championships format and boost interest levels, the event will have its first-ever midnight marathon along Doha’s corniche and a first 4x400m mixed relay. The programme will replace morning sessions with split evening sessions. One-hour intervals will be incorporated into each session to combine entertainment and family-centred activities with the competitive action.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said: “Going live with tickets is a big moment in any major championship and the Doha Organising Committee has worked hard to create an event that suits its climate, is fun and exciting for fans with some innovations and flair and provides optimal conditions for the athletes to excel.

“Athletics is looking ahead. We have a new country and new innovations ready to embrace new fans and new opportunities with new formats and ticket options as part of a global event. Whether it is Doha, Tokyo, Nanjing or Eugene, we are looking at our sport with a fresh perspective and fresh eyes.”

In March, Ticketmaster struck a deal to provide ticketing services for the IAAF’s portfolio of global events from 2019 to 2021.

Image: LOC