What’s the strategy behind Saudi Arabia’s sports splurge? | Business Beyond
Saudi Arabia has embarked on an investment spree. Fuelled by mammoth pandemic-era oil profits, the country’s sovereign wealth fund is spending billions in a range of sectors and industries.
One which has caught everyone’s eye is sport. Having dramatically disrupted professional golf in 2022, this year it is football which has been upended by an infusion of Saudi billions. The country’s league is now the second-highest spending in the world, having been 20th last season.
But why is Saudi Arabia doing all this? Its leadership says it wants to diversify its economy as it moves away from oil, and sport is just one part of a broad move to create a services-based economy. But critics say the state – and particularly its leader, Mohammad bin Salman – is engaged in blatant ‘sportswashing’. That means trying to improve its image through association with elite sport. Saudi Arabia has long been highlighted by human rights groups as a haven of inequality and oppression.
In this episode of Business Beyond, we will look in depth at Saudi Arabia’s mega sports bet. Is it trying to diversify its economy, or simply, its reputation?
01:48 Spending Spree
03:50 A changing country?
06:20 From oil to sport
11:27 The Dark Kingdom
#saudiarabia #sports #humanrights
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#saudiarabia #sports #sportswashing