Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammad bin Salman has unveiled the sports club investment and privatization project to diversify the economy from oil revenues.
According to the Saudi Press Agency, the project consists of two elements. The first consists of approving the investment of major companies and development agencies in sports clubs in return for transferring the clubs’ ownership to them. The second involves privatizing a number of sports clubs, starting from the last quarter of 2023.
The initiative aims to raise Saudi Pro League’s commercial revenues from $120 million in 2022 to over $2.1 billion annually, making it one of the world’s top leagues while generating private sector investment opportunities. It also aims to increase the market value of the Roshn Saudi League from $799 million to over $2.1 billion by 2030.
With sports as a key pillar in the country’s Vision 2030 plan, the program has been designed to create an ideal investment-friendly environment in the sports sector, raise levels of professionalism and administrative and financial governance in sports clubs, and develop their infrastructure to provide an ideal audience experience.
“The ultimate impact will see the provision of world-class services to sports fans, enriching the fan experience and driving community participation,” according to a statement.
Meanwhile, at a press conference, Saudi Minister of Sports Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal revealed that Public Investment Fund (PIF) four clubs were being converted to companies, with ownership that will be transferred to development agencies.
Al Faisal revealed that Al Qadisiyah Club was to be transferred to Saudi Aramco, Diraiyah Club to the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, AlUla Club to the Royal Commission for AlUla, and the Suqoor Club to NEOM.
He also said that PIF would be investing in Al Ittihad, Al Ahli, Al Nassr, and Al Hilal and that the clubs have been transformed into companies, each of which is owned by the wealth fund and non-profit foundations for each club as part of the sports privatization.
PIF would hold 75% shareholding in each club company, while the clubs’ non-profit foundations hold 25% ownership.
The launch of the sports clubs’ privatization comes as French soccer player Karim Benzema is reportedly slated to join Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo in the Saudi league, who joined Al Nassr at the end of last year.
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