According to the Financial Times, most of the investment comes from 20-year commercial deals that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund-owned companies Qiddiya and Jeddah Central have with some domestic football teams, including Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal. Real estate development company Roshn, which is also part of the sovereign fund’s portfolio, also recently signed a five-year contract to title sponsor the Saudi Pro League, the country’s championship.
“PIF’s most high-profile football investment to date was its controversial takeover of English top-flight club Newcastle United. Since acquiring the team for around £300 million ($331.2 million), the owners have spent more than £200 million ($220.8 million) on new players, as well as appointing a new head coach and chief executive for the Premier League team”, sportspromedia.com indicates.
In addition, Noon, a Public Investment Fund (PIF)-backed online commerce platform, recently became the club’s new sleeve partner. The firm is also an official sales partner of English football champions Manchester City. The huge investment into elite sport demonstrates how PIF, which claims to have more than $600 billion in assets under management, continues to ramp up its efforts to diversify the nation’s economy beyond the hydrocarbon industry.
“More recently, it has been reported that the Gulf nation is pushing to host the 2030 Fifa World Cup, leading a potential joint bid with Egypt and Greece. Beyond soccer, it has already staged several high-profile boxing bouts, a Formula One Grand Prix, and is behind the breakaway LIV Golf tour. It was also recently announced that Saudi Arabia will be hosting the 2029 Asian Winter Games, and the country appears to be setting its sights on staging a future edition of the Olympics”, sportspromedia.com adds.