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Business of Sport

Sports business news from the Middle East. All the important stories, exclusive interviews, plus authoritative opinion and analysis

Gloucester score against Leicester Tigers during a Gallagher Premiership match. PIF is said to be interested in buying a stake in both teams

Saudi’s PIF ‘in talks’ to invest in British rugby

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is said to be in talks to buy stakes in four British rugby clubs.   British media has reported that discussions are taking place to pay a total of £60 million ($76 million) for shares in a quartet of top-tier clubs: Gloucester, Leicester Tigers, Newcastle Falcons and Northampton Saints.  This […]

The Saudi fitness sector has growth potential as currently gym members make up only 3.7 percent of the population

Fitness brands shape up for Saudi expansion plans

GymNation, founded in Dubai, has revealed plans to open 50 new fitness centres in Saudi Arabia as it seeks to capitalise on the kingdom’s billion-dollar fitness industry. The mid-market brand was set up six years ago and currently operates 11 gyms in the emirate, with a further six set to open before the summer. Founder […]

Seven launches Formula E branded indoor karting venues

Saudi Entertainment Ventures (Seven), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and London-headquartered Formula E will jointly build multiple Formula E-branded indoor karting venues across the kingdom. The Formula E karting attractions are set to be built at four of Seven entertainment destinations in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Abha. Each attraction will […]

seven-time World Snooker Championship winner Ronnie O’Sullivan is among the top-rank players taking part in the Saudi event

Saudi ‘golden ball’ rule cues up snooker controversy

Saudi Arabia will host its first major snooker tournament in Riyadh in March, though the deal has aroused controversy because of a new “golden ball” rule.  The Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker is the latest in a series of top sports events the kingdom is organising during the first months of 2024.  The Riyadh […]

Electric vehicles on display in London at the launch of a partnership between PIF and Formula E, Extreme E and E1 this week

PIF’s new deal to spark surge in e-motorsports

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has announced a multi-year partnership with Formula E, Extreme E and E1 powerboat racing to boost the profile of sustainable electric motorsports in the kingdom. The Electric 360 programme is part of the sovereign fund’s carbon reduction initiatives.  PIF ranks first in the Middle East for sustainability among the […]

Ryan Bader Saudi martial arts

Saudi Arabia clinches martial arts champions contest

Saudi Arabia has signed a contract this week to host the first ever showdown between mixed martial arts champions of the Professional Fighters League (PFL) and Bellator MMA, the American mixed martial arts promotion. The fights at Riyadh’s Kingdom Arena on February 24 are part of the country’s push to be at the forefront of […]

Head, Person, Face

From sports to oil cuts: Saudi Arabia’s year in review

As the curtain comes down on 2023 and Saudi Arabia moves closer to its Vision 2030 deadline, AGBI looks back at the highlights and notable events of the past twelve months in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia wins hosting rights for major events  Saudi Arabia’s drive to draw global attention to its development efforts scored important […]

ADQ signs sponsorship pact with Egyptian football club

Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ has signed a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Pyramids Football Club (Pyramids FC), an Egyptian Premier League professional sports club. The fund will be the official partner of Pyramids FC, reinforcing ADQ’s position as a long-term investor in Egypt. The financial details of the deal were not given. Since its establishment and […]

A rendering of the gaming district in Qiddiya, which will cover more than 500,000 sq m

Qiddiya to host first gaming district in Saudi Arabia

The Qiddiya giga-project, near Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, will host the first multi-use gaming and e-sports district in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom is striving to become a global gaming and sports centre by 2030. The upcoming gaming and e-sports district, which is claimed to be the first in the world, is part of the launch […]

Golf course project being built near Riyadh

Golf course emerges from the desert at Diriyah giga-project

Saudi Arabia is developing a luxury golf and equestrian resort outside Riyadh as part of the Diriyah giga-project, with three major hotel brands announcing this week that they were taking part.  Aman, Oberoi and Six Senses are the first hotels to start construction in the mountainous rocky land on the edge of the desert west […]

Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé went head to head in the World Cup final as PSG players

Qatari owners of PSG sell minority stake in French club

The Qatari owners of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) will sell a minority stake in the French football club to US investment group Arctos Partners. No details were disclosed in the official statement. However, the Financial Times reported that the talks started a year ago and Arctos will buy up to 12.5 percent, citing two informed sources. […]

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen wins Abu Dhabi GP

Red Bull’s triple world champion Max Verstappen wrapped up Formula One’s most dominant season with a record-extending 19th win in 22 races at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday. The pole-to-flag victory, for the fourth year in a row under the Yas Marina floodlights, left the 26-year-old alone in third place in Formula […]

Gary Neville

UAE buyers help ex-England footballer hit property goals

The former Manchester United and England footballer Gary Neville has revealed that one in five properties in his luxury residential development have been snapped up by UAE investors. Neville, a Champions League-winning defender turned entrepreneur, visited the Emirates this week to gauge Middle Eastern interest in his £400 million ($501 million) hotel and apartment project […]

Qataris perform Eid al-Fitr prayers this year at one of the stadiums built for the 2022 Fifa World Cup, Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan

Tourism up, growth down: a year on from the Qatar World Cup

A year ago, the Al Bayt stadium, 35 kilometres outside Doha, hosted the opening game of the first World Cup ever held in the Middle East. More than 67,000 supporters thronged the giant complex to watch Qatar’s first game against Ecuador. The stadium will come into its own again in January when it hosts the […]

Real Madrid World will include family-friendly attractions, themed food and dining and retail stores

Real Madrid World theme park set to open in Dubai

Real Madrid World – the first-ever football theme park – will open in Dubai. The amusement park will have “adrenaline-pumping themed attractions, immersive experiences and fan engagement opportunities, celebrating football and basketball the Real Madrid way,” Dubai Parks and Resorts and Real Madrid said in a joint statement. Real Madrid World will host new experiences, including family-friendly attractions, […]

Max Verstappen celebrates victory at the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

F1 promoter predicts strong turnout for Abu Dhabi GP

The promoter of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is predicting strong attendance for this month’s race despite the continuing conflict in Israel and Gaza. Several events in the UAE and across the Middle East have been cancelled or postponed because of the war, but Formula One’s governing body has dismissed speculation that the final race […]

Saudi Arabia seeks a stake in $30bn Indian cricket league

Saudi Arabia has shown interest in buying a multi-billion-dollar stake in the Indian Premier League (IPL) following various investments in professional sports such as football and golf. Advisors of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke to Indian government officials on moving the IPL into a holding company worth $30 billion, Bloomberg reported. The […]

Saudi Arabia produced one of the great World Cup shocks when they defeated Argentina at Qatar 2022. Lionel Messi's team recovered to eventually win the tournament

Saudi Arabia to host 2034 World Cup

Saudi Arabia is to be formally declared as the host of the 2034 Fifa World Cup after Australia said on Tuesday – the final day for bids – that it would not submit an application.  Football Australia said in a statement that it had decided to focus instead on bids for the 2026 Women’s Asian […]

Esports gamer

Saudi Arabia launches e-sports world cup

Saudi Arabia has announced the launch of the E-sports World Cup, to be held annually in Riyadh from 2024.  The world cup is part of the kingdom’s National Gaming and E-sports Strategy, designed to increase the sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP by more than SAR50 billion ($13.3 billion) by 2030, establish 250 game developers […]

Manchester United tumbles on Ratcliffe’s stake bid

Shares of Manchester United fell as much as 23 percent on Monday after reports that British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe is looking to acquire only a 25 percent stake in the football club raised concerns that a buyout by Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al Thani could be off the table. The shares were last down […]