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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Saudi Arabia Continues Quest To Become A Soccer Nation

  • Saudi Arabia is trying to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup.
  • The Saudi Women's Premier League is getting new broadcast partners.
Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

As the race to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup heats up, Saudi Arabia continues to put significant effort toward solidifying its global soccer reputation.

After Saudi Pro League clubs spent nearly $1 billion on player transfers this past summer, the country’s up-and-coming women’s competition is starting to get stronger promotion, too. 

The Saudi Women’s Premier League played its inaugural campaign during the 2022-23 season, and this one will be broadcast domestically and internationally for the first time. 

In Saudi Arabia, a state-controlled media network will broadcast matches, while DAZN has picked up the league’s global rights and will show at least two games per week. DAZN is also the broadcast partner for the men’s SPL in six countries, including the U.K.

While the SWPL doesn’t have the starpower of its men’s counterpart, the league has been able to lure former Women’s Super League (England) mainstays Ashleigh Plumptre and Leighanne Robe. It has also signed PepsiCo’s Lay’s brand as a major sponsor.

Making Progress?

The new investment in and promotion of the SWPL can most certainly be attributed to Saudi Arabia’s ambitions to be more widely accepted as a sporting nation.

With women’s rights as a major discussion point amid Saudi Arabia’s various human rights’ criticisms, any evidence that the nation is making progress on those fronts would go a long way toward a general willingness to host major competitions in the country.

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