PIF sets up investment company to promote sports in Saudi Arabia and the region

SRJ Sports will invest in acquiring rights and creating new sports events

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund is investing heavily in building new projects in the kingdom. EPA
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Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund has set up an investment company that aims to support the growth of the sports sector in the kingdom and across the Middle East and North Africa region.

The company, named SRJ Sports Investments, will invest in acquiring and creating new sports events' intellectual property right, commercial rights of popular sports competitions and hosting major global sporting events in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund said.

It will target businesses specialised in offering fan engagement activities and transformative sports technology across the industry, with the investments expected to deliver financial returns and localise partnerships domestically and in the region.

“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,” Raid Ismail, head of Mena direct investments at PIF said.

One of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, the PIF is at the centre of the Saudi Vision 2030 initiative to diversify the country’s economy from hydrocarbons.

The fund is boosting its investments to grow its portfolio.

In June, it also took control of four of the country’s most prominent football clubs, including Al Hilal, Al Nassr, Al Ittihad and Al Ahli to grow its investment in the sports sector.

Last month the PIF, with more than SAR2 trillion ($533 billion) in assets under management, announced the setting up of three companies including Saudi Tourism Investment Company, or Asfar, to support the growth of the kingdom’s ​​tourism sector and Sawani Company to help the local camel farming industry grow.

It also established a company to develop and boost production of Ajwa dates in the Madinah region as part of efforts to further enhance the kingdom's food and agriculture industry.

The Al Madinah Heritage Company will focus on promoting and distributing Ajwa dates domestically and internationally, in addition to boosting the development of other date varieties to meet growing global demand, the PIF said at the time.

In May, it also established Badael, a company that aims to develop, manufacture and distribute tobacco-free products as part of efforts to reduce the prevalence of smoking and localise manufacturing in the kingdom.

Since 2017, the PIF has established 84 companies in 13 strategic sectors.

The fund is investing heavily to build projects in the kingdom. It is mandated to pump $40 billion to $50 billion into the local economy to generate jobs and boost the non-oil economic base of the country.

The PIF is also investing globally to boost its portfolio.

Last month, Manara Minerals Investment Company, a joint venture between Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) and the PIF signed a binding agreement to buy a 10 per cent stake in Brazil's base metals company Vale.

The deal is expected to help the company play a key role in expanding the production of copper and nickel, which are critical to the development of new technologies that will benefit the global energy transition.

It also signed an initial agreement with Oman's sovereign wealth fund, Oman Investment Authority, to explore investment opportunities worth as much as $5 billion in the sultanate.

Updated: August 06, 2023, 12:10 PM