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Saudi Arabia’s PIF launches new sports investment company

SRJ Sports Investments to focus on assets with high growth potential in Saudi Arabia and MENA region.

8 August 2023 Ed Dixon

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  • Company will target investments in rights holders, fan engagement, and IP acquisition and creation
  • SRJ to ‘complement’ other PIF sports investments

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is forming a new sports investment company that aims to accelerate the growth of the sports sector in the kingdom and MENA region.

SRJ Sports Investments will focus on acquiring and creating new sports events intellectual property (IP), commercial rights of sports competitions and hosting major global events in Saudi Arabia.

PIF added that these investments are expected to deliver financial returns and localise partnerships domestically and in the MENA region. 

The new company also plans to target businesses offering ‘unique fan engagement activities’ and ‘transformative sports technology’ across the industry.

“We are thrilled to announce the establishment of SRJ Sports Investments Company to accelerate the growth of the sports sector in Saudi Arabia and the MENA region, by creating and investing in international sports IP, enhancing the fan experience through hosting major global events and investing in transformative technologies,” said Raid Ismail, head of MENA Direct Investments at PIF.

“The company will complement other PIF investments in the sports sector, all of which are contributing to a more vibrant society, in line with PIF’s strategy and Saudi Vision 2030.”

It had been reported last month that Saudi Arabia was planning to launch a multibillion-dollar investment company that would be part of PIF and exist to supercharge the country’s sports expansion efforts.

According to the Financial Times (FT), Premier League club Newcastle United and the LIV Golf Series, both owned by PIF, will not fall under the new company.

In addition to soccer and golf, Saudi Arabia has invested in the likes of boxing, as well as having ties with, among others, Formula One, snooker and horse racing.

Looking ahead to the future, the kingdom wants to make its Saudi Pro League, which has four clubs owned by PIF, one of the top domestic soccer leagues in the world. Heavy spending on players will continue after a raft of big names arrived over the summer.

Beyond establishing its own sports competitions, Saudi Arabia has been linked with a bid for the 2030 Fifa World Cup and hosting a future Olympic Games.

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