Home Football / Soccer Middle East football leagues getting attention amidst high-profile transfers: how the Saudi Pro League keeps on growing and growing

Middle East football leagues getting attention amidst high-profile transfers: how the Saudi Pro League keeps on growing and growing

by foot.biz

More than a year ago, Cristiano Ronaldo made headlines when he signed with Al-Nassr and decided to move to Saudi Arabia and do his football magic on the Middle-Eastern fields. Exiting his career at Manchester United, the Portuguese did not choose to stay in the Premier League nor did he choose to go to another European club. 

Instead, he opted for the Saudi Pro League, which secured him 225 million dollars for a two-and-a-half-year contract – roughly 75 million dollars per year. Ronaldo’s transfer was the first huge leak from the west to the Middle East. Some months later, in June 2023, Karim Benzema followed Ronaldo’s example and signed with Al Ittihad, another Saudi Pro League’s top club. And in August 2023, another first-class football star – PSG’s forward- Neymar left European soil to join Al Hilal and be the third big name to move down the same road. 

Helping football grow in Saudi Arabia has been cited as one of the primary reasons for going to the Middle East by all three footballers. In fact, Benzema told news reporters that he very much admires what Ronaldo did and that he had always wanted to become a driving force for football growth down there. And the truth is that the Saudi Pro League has indeed grown in popularity, revenues, and viewership and has also promoted a skyrocketing growth in sports wagering, as reported by most UAE Bookmakers, that also battle to have the best betting app in UAE. 

The Saudi Pro League has set its eyes on European football a long time ago. And for that reason, they have been spending ridiculously high amounts of money in getting the top football players of some of the most popular leagues in the world – namely, EPL, Ligue 1, La Liga, etc. 

The goal is to change the entire sports landscape in Saudi Arabia, increase football’s popularity, attract global viewership, and of course make more money out of it, as they do with Cricket Apps for example. And what is the best way to do so? Definitely, by getting several big names into one league and making football played by the clubs there, an absolute spectacle, a uniquely equipped competition, and an unparalleled showcase of football talent.

For the Saudi Pro League, being able to have huge stars of football playing on Middle-eastern soil, is a great marketing move that has both strategic and profit-making implications. On the one hand, these players bring the league to the world’s attention and secure widespread viewership. Let’s not forget that Saudi Arabia wants to build a football competition that will eventually become one of the biggest ones on the planet. 

On the other hand, having names like Ronaldo, Neymar, and Benzema -along with other big names such as Sadio Mane, Yassine Bounou, etc.- is a driving force on its own, destined to make football in Saudi Arabia one of the most widely popular sports. And the more it becomes popular, the more it is channeled to lock in profits, whether these come from sponsorships, broadcasting rights, and merchandise sales or from sports wagering revenues generated by Saudi and UAE bookmakers and generally Top Dubai betting sites.

The Saudi Pro League shows far greater interest in getting experienced, mature footballers who are probably in the twilight of their careers. They don’t want rookies or players who are not renowned and largely unpopular. They want players who have made their own history in the sport and they can lend their fame to the league. They want to have them while they are in the spotlight and steal some of their thunder! 

Well, this is a fair game. Since the Saudi Pro League aspires to become the Premier League of the region, and maybe go past the fame and popularity of it, then they can actually use all they’ve got and all the means to achieve it! They do have the money, they do know how to do it, so they are doing it!

Source : FootTheBall

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