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Saudi Arabia’s PIF sets up new investment firm to boost sports industry

The company will help boost the kingdom and the region’s sports sector.

Saudi Arabia’s PIF sets up new investment firm to boost sports industry
[Source photo: Pankaj Kirdatt/Fast Company Middle East]

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To support Saudi Arabia’s sports sector, the country’s sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF) has announced the launch of an investment company dedicated to fostering growth in the sector and the overall Middle East and North Africa region. 

Named SRJ Sports Investments, the establishment will invest in acquiring and creating new sports events, intellectual property rights, and commercial rights of well-known sports matches and host global sporting events in the kingdom. Looking to target businesses that specialize in fan engagement activities and sports technology, the company’s investments are expected to bring financial returns and localize partnerships. 

This new company follows PIF’s strategy, focusing on the entertainment, leisure, and sports sector as one of their 13 investment priorities. In June, the sovereign wealth fund also acquired a 75% stake in four of the country’s football clubs, namely Al Hilal, Al Nassr, Al Ittihad, and Al Ahli, to encourage private investment in the sports sector. The acquisition was made via the Sports Clubs Investment and Privatization Project, with one of the main objectives being to position the Saudi Pro League as one of the top 10 football leagues worldwide. 

The project similarly shared goals to boost the league’s annual revenue from $120 million to over $480 million while increasing its market value from $8 million to more than $2 billion by 2030.

SRJ Sports Investments also comes as the PIF released its annual report 2022, which stated that its assets under management (AUM) had surpassed $594 billion, compared to its recorded AUM of $527 in 2021. International investments comprised 23% of its AUM, and 68% were local investments. The report also highlighted that the wealth fund generated a total shareholders return of 8% and established 25 companies in 2022. 

Across its 13 priority sectors, the PIF has established 84 companies since 2017.

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