Best Activation Idea Ever?
If this comes to pass, don't even bother applying for Best Activation at the 2016 Arabian Sponsorship Awards. According to Reuters, Qatar, which just landed the 2022 World Cup, may be vying to host the 2016 Tour de --France? The Emir of Qatar, according to the report, wants to pick up and move the start of the race to the tiny Middle East country. Qatar Airways, which just became a Tour de France sponsor in June, presumably would benefit in a big way from what at first glance seems like a longshot proposal.
Since the country has only expressed in "hosting the start" not the entire race, we can presume that everyone would then be encouraged to jump on Qatar Airways to head over to France for the rest of the 3,600 kilometres, three week race towards the Champs-Élysées. The idea may not be as strange as it sounds. In 2007 the Grand Départ took place in London and in 2010 the race started in Rotterdam.
Qatar Airways proved it could, at minimum, handle transportation of the peleton this year. Prior to the race, officials announced that they would ditch high speed rail, and transport the race peloton to Paris for the final stage via a Qatar Airways Airbus A330. Still, there would be a lot more logistical issues with starting the race over 3,000 miles away.
"His highness (the Emir) has had this idea in mind for quite a while. They have started the discussions and the process," a source with close ties to the government told Reuters.
Conveniently, Qatar Airways, which is no stranger to the sport having also sponsored the Tour of Qatar, offers direct service a couple times a day from Qatar's capital of Doha to Paris.