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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

Qatar Tourism bedouin camp

Qatar exceeds 2022 tourism figures in just eight months

The number of tourists in Qatar this year has exceeded the figure for the whole of 2022, with officials saying that hosting the Fifa World Cup has put the Gulf state on the map. Qatar Tourism data revealed that the country has welcomed more than 2.5 million visitors as of the last week in August. […]

A match between Abdullah al Qahtani and David Zelner in MMA league PFL, which Saudi Arabia has invested in

Saudi Arabia pins down $100m MMA investment

Saudi Arabia’s SRJ Sports Investments has acquired a minority stake in mixed martial arts (MMA) organisation the Professional Fighters League, reported to be worth $100 million. Founded in 2018, the PFL is second behind the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in terms of its global popularity. PFL Mena will begin in 2024 having launched in Europe […]

Saudi Pro League footbal - Al-Feiha's Mohammed Al Baqawi in action with Al-Hilal's Michael

Saudi football sells TV rights in hope of net profit

Saudi Arabia’s professional football league has sold broadcast rights to 12 networks across 130 countries for coverage of the 2023-24 season, following a spending spree on players that has captured global attention.  But wary of previous experience with China, broadcasters will be following closely to see if a global appetite exists for Saudi Arabia.  “The […]

Qatar Padel

Qatar buys rival padel tour after legal wrangling

State-owned Qatar Sports Investments has agreed to buy the World Padel Tour and will launch a unified global circuit for the fast-growing racquet sport next year. QSI created a breakaway padel competition in early 2022, and the Qatari takeover of the sport mirrors Saudi Arabia’s controversial multimillion-dollar entry into men’s professional golf. Padel uses the […]

Ronaldo Al Nassr

Saudi millions ‘creating two-tier system’ for football agents

Saudi Arabia’s football investment spree is tempting top-flight players to its teams, but is also creating a two-tier system among agents, industry observers have warned. Brazilian superstar Neymar’s arrival in Saudi Arabia this week boosted the coffers of his former employer Paris Saint Germain to the tune of a reported $110 million. The latest big-money […]

Ball, Football, Soccer Neymar

Neymar to play for Saudi’s Al Hilal after PSG agree deal

Brazil forward Neymar is headed for Saudi Arabia after Pro League side Al Hilal agreed a two-year deal with Paris St Germain, Saudi state media reported. There was no immediate comment from the Ligue 1 champions, owned by Qatar Sports Investments, but French newspaper L’Equipe said the deal could net 31-year-old Neymar €160 million ($175 […]

Riyadh Air Atletico Madrid

Riyadh Air and Atlético Madrid sign sponsorship deal

Saudi Arabia’s new national carrier Riyadh Air has signed a sponsorship deal with Spanish football club Atlético Madrid, giving the airline a major advertising boost ahead of its planned launch of operations in 2025.  Riyadh Air said it will be the main sponsor and official airline partner of the club as part of a multiyear […]

Baseball United CEO Kash Shaikh (left) launches Dubai Wolves and Abu Dhabi Falcons, the first professional baseball franchises in the Gulf

Baseball ready to strike home run in the Middle East

When the opening pitch is thrown at Dubai International Stadium in November it will signal the official start of the first ever professional baseball league in the Middle East and South Asia. And the power broker behind the ambitious project hopes the 25,000-seater venue will be at least a quarter full to mark the inaugural […]

Al-Ahli Saudi Club

Newcastle winger Saint-Maximin joins Saudi club

Newcastle United winger Allan Saint-Maximin has joined Saudi Pro League side Al-Ahli on a three-year deal. “We pick the best, and he’s one of them,” Al-Ahli said on social media messaging platform X. The transfer fee for the 26-year-old was not disclosed. The winger will team up with former Premier League players Roberto Firmino, Edouard […]

Manchester City's Abu Dhabi owners have been granted permission for its $384 million expansion

Green light for Manchester City stadium upgrade

Manchester City FC has won planning permission to expand and upgrade its stadium, meaning the $384 million project can get under way.  The English footbal club is majority-owned by Abu Dhabi United Group. It unveiled proposals earlier this year to increase the size of the Etihad Stadium’s North Stand by 7,700 people, to accommodate a […]

Emirates will be main sponsor of the tournament in Saudi. It also supports the UAE Pro League

Emirates builds Saudi profile as Riyadh Air nears take-off

Emirates has signed up as the main sponsor and official airline of the King Salman Club Cup 2023. The deal will give the Dubai-based airline extensive brand visibility in stadiums and marketing for the football tournament, which is being held as a new Saudi carrier, Riyadh Air, gears up for launch. Riyadh Air, wholly owned […]

Oman Air Chelsea

Oman Air signs sponsorship with Chelsea FC

Oman Air has signed a three-year sponsorship deal to become the global airline partner of English Premier League football club Chelsea. The sultanate’s flag carrier is looking to capitalise on Chelsea’s international following. The partnership will include co-branded livery, joint promotional content and corporate social responsibility campaigns. Financial details around the deal were not disclosed. […]

Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund. Forty percent of the $11trn held by sovereign wealth funds is in the Gulf region

PIF plans new subsidiary to boost sports investments

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) aims to establish a multi-billion-dollar investment company to expand its sports interests globally. The new entity will have a war chest to fund its expansion, the Financial Times reported, citing an informed source. The move reaffirms Riyadh’s drive to make more acquisitions, investments and joint ventures in football, tennis […]

Steven Gerrard Al-Ettifaq

Steven Gerrard is Saudi’s latest big-name football signing

Former Liverpool and England midfielder Steven Gerrard is the latest name to be recruited into Saudi Arabia’s football revolution after being named manager of Al-Ettifaq. The 43-year-old has signed a two-year deal, following players including Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy to the kingdom. “Gerrard’s presence will be an addition […]

Bayern Munich Qatar Airways

Bayern Munich and Qatar Airways end $50m sponsorship

German football club Bayern Munich will not renew its five-year sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways after it expires this month. The decision was made by mutual consent, according to a joint statement issued on the club’s website on Wednesday. “The connections that FC Bayern has been able to forge with its fans in the Arab […]

Phil Mickelson, left, and Lee Westwood, right, pose with Newcastle United chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan before the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational

Saudi’s PIF governor to chair PGA and LIV merged entity

The framework of the merger agreement of the PGA Tour and Saudi-backed LIV Golf says a for-profit subsidiary of the US golfing body will be created to manage commercial investments and assets for all tours, according to a copy reviewed by Reuters on Monday. The PGA Tour will have a permanent controlling interest in the […]

Washington Wizards, basketball

Qatar ‘closing in on major US sports investment’

Qatar is ready to take a shot at the $500 billion US sports market with a reported investment interest in Monumental Sports & Entertainment. The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is set to buy a 5 percent stake in Monumental, the parent company of basketball side Washington Wizards and the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals, according […]

Emirates' latest deal with a Tunisian sports club grows its global portfolio in football

Sponsorship deal grows Emirates’ presence in Africa

Emirates airline is to sponsor a Tunisian sports club, as the Dubai carrier looks to increase its revenues in Africa. The airline will sponsor Etoile Sportive du Sahel, which has teams across a number of sports including football, basketball, volleyball and handball.  Emirates’ branding will be on the teams’ jerseys and training kits, as well […]