The Saudi sovereign wealth fund on Sunday introduced a brand new sports activities funding firm designed to attract “main international occasions” to the dominion, which has spent latest months luring prime soccer stars.
The corporate, SRJ Sports activities Investments, “will put money into buying and creating new sports activities occasions IP [intellectual property], industrial rights of well-liked and distinguished sports activities competitions and internet hosting main international occasions in Saudi Arabia,” the Public Funding Fund (PIF) mentioned in an announcement.
It’s going to “goal companies specialised in providing distinctive fan engagement actions and transformative sports activities know-how throughout the business, bolstering Saudi Arabia’s place as one of many world’s main sports activities and leisure locations.”
One of many world’s largest sovereign wealth autos, the PIF in 2022 had belongings underneath administration totalling 2.23 trillion Saudi riyals ($595 billion), in keeping with its annual report launched Sunday.
Sports activities have been a serious focus of the oil-rich kingdom’s effort to rebrand as a worldwide enterprise and tourism vacation spot underneath the Imaginative and prescient 2030 reform agenda pursued by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the PIF chairman.
Soccer golf equipment within the Gulf state, the world’s largest crude exporter, have signed a bunch of main stars starting with Cristiano Ronaldo final 12 months and persevering with with Karim Benzema, Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane this 12 months, although overtures to Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi have been unsuccessful.
Saudi Arabia has additionally triggered shockwaves in golf with its financing of the insurgent LIV sequence and hosts a Formulation One Grand Prix.
The ATP and the WTA, which run the lads’s and girls’s skilled tennis excursions, have been focused by the Saudis, who hosted an exhibition for prime males’s gamers exterior Riyadh final 12 months.
The flurry of offers and negotiations have spurred allegations of “sportswashing”, or utilizing sports activities to distract from Saudi Arabia’s regularly criticised human rights report.