Saudi Sports

PezCycling News: Saudi PIF Invests Everywhere

A recent short segment in CNBC’s Last Call financial news program succinctly picked apart Saudi Arabia’s sports investment strategy (full segment here). The nation’s sovereign wealth fund (PIF) has seemingly narrowed its spending into two channels: (1) sports with dysfunctional business models that it can disrupt and rebuild, and (2) sports which it may not be able to outright purchase, but where it can license and host prominent events.

It’s now been a few months since we’ve heard a whisper about the much-hyped rumor that pro cycling was on the verge of being “taken over” by the Saudi investment fund. Given PIF’s continuing and aggressive push into other sports, we have to wonder how accurate those rumors were, and if they were accurate, what exactly went wrong? Pro cycling has both a generally outdated economic model and a race licensing model that could readily be upended by a well-funded party from outside the sport’s traditional circles. In other words, cycling is ripe for an outside party to step in and disrupt/modernize the sport.

There is a lot to write about:

…but it is all too much for me to expand upon now, so this will, like so many quote-posts before, remain a marker, a note to some future self who has time to think and write.

  1. And by extension, power. 

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