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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Saudi PIF Targets MMA and Qatari Fund Acquires Padel Tour

  • The Professional Fighters league could receive investment from a sovereign wealth fund.
  • Qatar is getting more involved in the international sport of padel.
Cooper Neill / PFL

The presence of Middle Eastern money in sports continues to grow to new leagues.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund now appears to be targeting more combat sports like MMA, according to Bloomberg, and the Professional Fighters League says it’s open to investment from foreign sovereign wealth funds.

The PIF has already invested billions in golf, soccer, and Formula 1, while also eyeing tennis. Saudi Arabia has also hosted major boxing matches involving the likes of heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

A major cash influx for the PFL could help the MMA outfit compete with the UFC, which is closing in on a $9.3 billion merger with WWE. In May, the PFL signed Francis Ngannou, a top UFC fighter for the past several years.

Last year, the PFL was valued at at least $500 million after a funding round brought its total money raised to $200 million. The PIF recently launched a new subsidiary company — SRJ Sports Investments.

Moving Into New Territories

Qatar is furthering its ties across the globe with the acquisition of the World Padel Tour — its Qatar Investment Authority became the first sovereign wealth fund to invest in U.S. teams this year when it purchased a 5% stake in Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

Padel is often described as a hybrid between tennis and squash. Qatar Sports Investments — a separate entity from QIA — had recently started its own padel league, and the move will merge that startup tour with the WPT and form a new entity called Premier Padel, governed by the International Padel Federation.

QSI also owns French soccer club Paris St. Germain.

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