In a significant step towards solidifying its position as a key player in the global sports arena, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund revealed its investment in U.S. mixed martial arts (MMA). This move highlights the Kingdom’s ongoing efforts to establish itself as a prominent force in various sports industries, further expanding its influence on the international stage.
SRJ Sports Investments, a subsidiary fully owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), has reached a significant agreement with the U.S.-based Professional Fighters League (PFL). As part of the deal, SRJ Sports Investments will acquire a minority ownership stake in the league and invest in the establishment of a new league specifically tailored for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, known as PFL MENA, which is set to make its debut in 2024. Furthermore, both entities will collaborate closely to host spectacular “mega events” within Saudi Arabia, as stated in an official press release.
Though the specific financial details of the agreement were not disclosed, the Financial Times has reported that the Saudi investment in the deal is estimated to be approximately $100 million.
The recent PFL deal by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) is a testament to Saudi Arabia’s persistent and dynamic sports strategy. This strategic move aligns with the Kingdom’s robust engagement in the sports sector, as exemplified by the ongoing second season of its LIV Golf league. Additionally, the PIF is actively ironing out the specifics of a merger between LIV Golf and the prestigious PGA Tour, further solidifying Saudi Arabia’s ambition to make a substantial impact on the global sports stage.
Attracting soccer superstars
The Saudi Pro League is making waves in the world of soccer as it continues to secure the services of renowned star players. In a notable move earlier this month, the Saudi club Al-Hilal successfully enticed Brazilian superstar Neymar from the Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain. Adding to the league’s allure, Al-Nassr secured the signing of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo in December, while Al-Ittihad welcomed French star Karim Benzema to their ranks in June.
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