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Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Saudi Arabia’s PIF Books $2.3B in Soccer Deals

  • Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund is investing $2.3 billion in soccer deals.
  • The country is investing incredible sums in sports.

Add billions in soccer sponsorships to Saudi Arabia’s sports strategy. 

The country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, which has made incredibly aggressive investments in sports and gaming in recent years, said in a financial filing that it has agreements with multiple soccer clubs, totaling around $2.3 billion.

  • Companies owned by the PIF, namely Qiddiya and Jeddah Central, have multiple 20-year deals with domestic soccer clubs.
  • PIF-owned real estate development firm ROSHN sponsors the country’s soccer league.
  • The PIF owns around 80% of Premier League club Newcastle United F.C.

The PIF-funded e-commerce platform Noon is a Newcastle shirt sponsor and Manchester City’s official sales partner in the Middle East.

The Long Game

The PIF, which claims $620 billion in assets under management, seeks to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy and shift from its dependence on oil — and sports has been a key part of the plan. 

The LIV Golf backer has turned its attention to high-profile international events. The country is hosting the 2029 Asian Winter Games and aims to host both a World Cup and an Olympics. 

The investments have attracted controversy: LIV golfers have faced questions on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, and top winter sports athletes objected to it being chosen for the Asian Winter Games over climate change concerns.

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