• Friday, July 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

Saudi Arabia eyes new £4billion boxing league

SaudiArabia-Boxing League

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is in discussions with multiple boxing stakeholders about a £4 billion deal to create a new boxing league, which could significantly alter the sport’s competitive landscape, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The PIF aims to invest in a joint venture with some of boxing’s key stakeholders, potentially featuring more boxing bouts. Discussions involve leading promoters such as Matchroom Boxing and Golden Boy Promotions. The new entity could be valued between $4-5 billion (£3.1-3.9 billion), with the PIF seeking a minority stake, according to one of the sources.

Turki al-Sheikh, a close advisor to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and chairman of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority, has been overseeing the final stages of the negotiations. Details on the league’s structure remain unclear.

Both PIF and Matchroom Boxing declined to comment, while Golden Boy Promotions did not respond to requests for comment. Currently, the sport consists of various organizations, including the World Boxing Council, the International Boxing Federation, the World Boxing Association, and the World Boxing Organization, each with their own championship rules.

Saudi Arabia has invested billions in sports to diversify its economy under Crown Prince Mohammed’s Vision 2030 program, which aims to boost tourism, the private sector, and job creation. Boxing is the latest sport to attract potential investment from the PIF, following deals in golf, Formula 1, and football. The fund is also considering investing in a new cycling league.

“Boxing has the potential to attract awareness for investors to the kingdom,” said Sebastian Sons, a senior researcher at consultancy CARPO. “By investing in sport, Saudi Arabia wants to gain market access, establish new political and economic networks, attract tourism, and raise global awareness of the transformation the kingdom is undergoing.”