- Competitions included in deal include 2022 World Cup qualifiers, 2023 Asian Cup, 2022 Women’s Asian Cup and 2022 U23 Asian Cup
- Football Marketing Asia to work with AFC and Neom to launch a range of activations in the coming months
Saudi Arabia has further bolstered its presence in sport through a new four-year sponsorship deal between the country’s Neom project and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Neom, which is a US$500 billion megacity being built in northwestern Saudi Arabia, will be a global partner of Asian soccer’s national team and club competitions during the 2021 to 2024 cycle.
The agreement covers the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar, as well as the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in China, the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in India and the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup in Uzbekistan.
In addition, Neom will be a sponsor of the AFC Champions League, Asia’s premier club tournament, and the second-tier AFC Cup.
The deal was secured by Football Marketing Asia (FMA), the AFC’s commercial rights partner, which will work with Neom and the AFC to launch a range of activations in the coming months. The activations will initially have a digital focus before offering opportunities for fans to experience Neom in person.
Neom is a major tourism project within the Saudi Vision 2030 framework, which is seeking to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from the oil sector. In addition to the AFC, the destination is already the principal partner of the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E team.
Nadhmi Al Nasr, the chief executive of Neom, said the partnership with the AFC supports the regions goals of “having the most physically active population on the planet” and becoming “a globally recognised centre of sporting excellence”.
The agreement between Neom and the AFC also strengthens Saudi Arabia’s ties to the confederation amid the country’s ongoing bid to secure the hosting rights for the 2027 Asian Cup, which has also attracted interest from Qatar and India.
Dato’ Windsor John, the AFC’s general secretary, added: “Neom’s partnership with AFC not only underscores the attractive and engaging platform the AFC provides through its many world-class competitions but also emphasises the profound and lasting impact Asia’s number one sport can have on strengthening communities.
“We look forward to creating and sharing historic moments with Neom and realising our common ambitions.”