Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, announced on Monday the launch of a bold investment and privatization project upon completing the implementing procedures of the first stage.
The project aligns with the ambitious objectives of Saudi sports within Vision 2030, emphasizing the development of an efficient sports sector by encouraging and enabling the private sector to contribute to the industry’s growth.
The project comprises two primary components. The first entails the approval of corporations and public sector organizations investing in sports clubs, with investment amounts corresponding to each club’s value. The second involves privatizing sports clubs starting from the final quarter of 2023.
Three strategic objectives underpin the project: fostering investment opportunities and an appealing investment environment in the sports sector; boosting professionalism, governance, and financial sustainability in sports clubs; and enhancing clubs’ competitiveness and infrastructure. The ultimate impact will see the provision of world-class services to sports fans, enriching the fan experience and driving community participation.
The privatization and ownership transfer of clubs aims to accelerate progress in a variety of sports across the Kingdom further growing participation, providing cutting edge facilities, increasing competition and nurturing future champions.
The timing of the project is a further boost to the existing momentum and major uptake of sport in Saudi Arabia, with more Saudis, young and old, boys and girls, playing more sport than ever before as part of more active and healthy lifestyles. Mass participation in sport has increased from 13% in 2015 to close to 50% in 2022 and the number of sports federations has increased from 32 in 2015 to over 95 in 2022, demonstrating the investment potential.
With over 80% of Saudi Arabia’s population either playing, attending or following football, the project has a major focus on the country’s national sport, which is also experiencing unprecedented growth.
The Saudi Pro League, which boosts players from over 40 different countries and has seen attendances increase by nearly 150% in the last year, will be supported in its ambition to be amongst the top ten leagues in the world.
Furthermore, the project aspires to raise the league’s commercial revenues from 450 million riyals in 2022 to over 1.8 billion riyals annually while generating private sector investment opportunities and increasing the market value of the Roshn Saudi League from 3 billion to more than 8 billion riyals by 2030.
Saudi football achievements in the last year include the country’s participation at the FIFA World Cup 2022, including memorably defeating eventual winners Argentina; SPL club Al Hilal reaching both the FIFA Club World Cup and AFC Champions League finals and the launch of a new women’s Premier League.