Launch Your Sports Business in Saudi Arabia’s Global Sports Hub - Al Taasis

Launch Your Sports Business in Saudi Arabia’s Global Sports Hub

Launch Your Sports Business in Saudi Arabia's Global Sports Hub

  • Introduction
  • Overview of the Saudi Sports Industry
  • Key Initiatives to Boost Saudi Sports Sector
  • Major Sporting Events in Saudi Arabia
    • Esports in Saudi Arabia
    • Upcoming Sports Events
  • Sports Tourism in Saudi Arabia
  • Start Your Sports Business in Saudi Arabia


Sports have been pivotal in Saudi society since the 1950s, becoming integral to the country’s cultural fabric. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambition to elevate the Saudi football league to one of the world’s top 10 is a testament to the Kingdom’s dedication to sports. Launched in May 2018 to achieve this goal, the Quality of Life Program places a central emphasis on sports. Numerous initiatives within the program are dedicated to fostering widespread participation, enhancing the performance of Saudi athletes in international competitions, and promoting the growth of the sports economy. This strategic move aligns with Saudi Vision 2030, aiming to position Saudi Arabia as a leading country with a diverse, thriving economy and a vibrant society.

Overview of the Saudi Sports Industry

With nearly 70 percent of the population under 30, Saudi Arabia recognizes the importance of catering to its largest demographic. Vision 2030 wants to build a lively society by encouraging a healthy and balanced lifestyle, both physically and socially. The sports sector, valued at $5.75 billion in 2022, is set to expand significantly, targeting $22.2 billion by 2030. Recent investments, exceeding $6.3 billion since 2021, highlight the government’s focus on sports, encompassing football, Formula 1, golf, winter sports, and tennis.

The sports event industry is growing at an impressive rate of 8% per year, indicating a robust and dynamic market. Currently, the sports sector contributes approximately 0.2% to the Kingdom’s GDP, while the tourism sector makes up around 3%, as per the Ministry of Sport and Ministry of Tourism. Both ministries have ambitious growth targets: sports are projected to contribute 0.6% to the GDP, and tourism is expected to make up 10% by 2030.

Key Initiatives to Boost Saudi Sports Sector

To foster the growth of the sports sector, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has established SRJ Sports Investments. This investment company aims to acquire and create intellectual property rights for sports events, commercialize popular competitions, and host major global sporting events. The focus on fan engagement activities and transformative sports technology aligns with Vision 2030’s commitment to creating a vibrant society through a healthy lifestyle.

Initiatives promoting women’s participation in sports and ongoing development of sports facilities demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and continuous improvement in the sports sector. The launch of the ‘Sports Clubs Investments and Privatisation Project’ marked a significant milestone as the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, assumed control of four SPL clubs—Al-Ahli, Al-Ittihad, Al-Hilal, and Al-Nassr. This strategic maneuver not only transferred ownership but also provided the clubs with substantial financial backing from a sovereign wealth fund boasting assets approaching nearly 800 billion US dollars.

  • Investments in the next five years in sports: US$2b
  • Committed to support sports club in achieving privatization: US$670m
  • Private sector investment committed through clubs’ sponsorships until 2023: US$320m

Major Sporting Events in Saudi Arabia

Hosting sporting events yields numerous benefits, including direct economic impact, increased interest in sports, tourism development, entertainment, improved national image, and a sense of pride and unity among Saudis. These events contribute to the Kingdom’s goal of promoting a healthy lifestyle and fostering social and economic development.

Saudi Arabia has become a key player in global sports events, hosting high-profile competitions such as the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Joshua v Ruiz II – “Clash on the Dunes,” and the Saudi Cup international horse racing event. The bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2030 reflects the Kingdom’s ambition to showcase its sports infrastructure and boost sports tourism, contributing significantly to the economy.

The Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, has become a hotbed for sports, with MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) witnessing significant growth in popularity. Hosting major sporting events displays Saudi Arabia’s cultural richness, attracts foreign direct investments, and bolsters tourism.

Esports in Saudi Arabia

Recognizing the global popularity of esports, Saudi Arabia has invested in nurturing its esports scene. The establishment of the Saudi Esports Federation and the launch of the Gamer8 Festival highlight the Kingdom’s commitment to this burgeoning industry. The Public Investment Fund’s allocation of $37.8 billion for esports and gaming underscores the potential for growth and development in this sector.

Upcoming Sports Events in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s commitment to sports is evident in hosting upcoming events. These events enhance the country’s global standing and contribute to the economy through tourism and infrastructure development.

2025Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games
2027AFC Asian Cup
2029Asian Winter Games
2034Asian Games
2034FIFA World Cup

Sports Tourism in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has set its sights on enhancing its appeal to “sport tourists” — individuals who visit the country for major sporting events or engage in recreational sports. The most recognizable form of sports tourism is characterized as “spectator sports tourism,” encompassing multi-sports events like the Olympics, Asian Games, Asia Cup, World Cup, Formula One, and more. The Saudi government’s focus on sports tourism is evident through hosting events like the World Boxing Super Series and the Formula E Diriyah E-Prix. These events boost the sporting industry and contribute significantly to the overall economy.

The country also hosts international tennis and golf tournaments and stages high-profile football games, with the Saudi football team being one of Asia’s most successful, having secured victory in the Asian Cup three times. In 2020, the size of the worldwide sports tourism market reached a valuation of $323.4 billion. Saudi Arabia’s multibillion-dollar investment in NEOM, set to host futuristic sporting events, further strengthens the Kingdom’s commitment to becoming a global sports destination.

Start Your Sports Business in Saudi Arabia with Al Taasis

The Kingdom’s commitment to hosting major sporting events, promoting sports tourism, and embracing emerging trends like esports positions it as a dynamic and attractive hub for the global sports business community. With a projected sports market exceeding $3 billion by 2024, there are abundant opportunities for both global and local players in the private sector. As Saudi Arabia continues to invest in and prioritize its sports sector, the benefits are set to ripple across various facets of the economy and society.

Start your sports venture with Al Taasis. We handle your licensing process, offering expert guidance in compliance with local regulations.

Contact us to know more about the prerequisites of your business journey.

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