The Future of Sports Entertainment in Saudi Arabia

Turki Alalshikh, the chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, has made a significant announcement regarding the expansion of sports entertainment in the country. A “strategic agreement” has been signed between Riyadh Season and the UFC, signaling a promising partnership that aims to bring major UFC events to Riyadh. Alalshikh revealed plans to host a grand UFC event in Saudi Arabia towards the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025. This event is expected to surpass the magnitude of the UFC’s previous event in the kingdom, which was headlined by a middleweight bout between Robert Whittaker and Khamzat Chimaev.

Riyadh Season, an annual sports and entertainment festival managed by the state, has emerged as a key player in supporting and sponsoring major sporting events, including UFC 306. This sponsorship deal will see Riyadh Season’s branding prominently displayed during the event, demonstrating a strong commitment to fostering world-class sports entertainment in Saudi Arabia. Alalshikh emphasized the significance of this partnership, stating that it sends a powerful message to the market and reinforces the kingdom’s ambition to become a global hub for MMA.

In addition to the UFC partnership, Alalshikh revealed plans for collaboration with WWE and TKO, a result of the merger between the two organizations last year. Saudi Arabia has been a key destination for WWE’s premium live events since 2018, with plans to expand the partnership further. Alalshikh hinted at the possibility of hosting WWE’s prestigious events such as the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania in Saudi Arabia, highlighting the country’s growing influence in the world of sports entertainment.

Recognizing the potential for growth and diversification in sports entertainment, Alalshikh announced additional events planned for Riyadh. This includes hosting one of Dana White’s Power Slap events and organizing a boxing event featuring the Terence Crawford-Israil Madrimov title fight in Los Angeles. By introducing a wide range of sports offerings, Saudi Arabia aims to attract global audiences and establish itself as a prominent player in the international sports entertainment scene.

With ambitious plans and strategic partnerships in place, Saudi Arabia is poised to transform its sports entertainment landscape and emerge as a major destination for premier sporting events. The collaboration with UFC, WWE, and TKO reflects a commitment to offering world-class entertainment experiences to fans in the kingdom and beyond. As Riyadh prepares to host a series of high-profile events, the future of sports entertainment in Saudi Arabia appears bright and full of potential.


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