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In a flurry of moves, Saudi Arabia lays foundations for post-oil future

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken concluded his first two-day visit to Saudi Arabia. The “historic” plan said It was in the kingdom’s interests to pursue modernization “including the expansion of human rights”.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, said the kingdom had undergone a “significant reform process” but that the government was driven by “the needs and aspirations of the Saudi people”.

“We are always open to dialogue with our friends, but we do not respond to pressure. When we do something, we do it for our own benefit,” he said. I was.

NEOM: Rhine, the future city at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 strategy.

The kingdom’s hopes do not rely solely on domestic nation-building.

Harnessing the soft power of sport is another area where Riyadh is hoping.

At the core of Vision 2030 is Saudi Arabia’s flexible stance to draw the world’s most popular sport and its stars into its trajectory, with billions of dollars already being poured into football, golf, Formula 1 racing and professional wrestling. there is

As the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar shows, the lucrative potential is plenty.

As the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar shows, the lucrative potential is plenty.credit: world cup authorities

According to global consulting firm EY, revenue from sporting events has increased by 8% annually since 2018 and is projected to reach $3.3 billion next year.

As the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, cricket in Dubai and the annual tournament in Abu Dhabi show, the global sports industry is worth around $750 billion, with the United States accounting for 40 percent. Rugby Sevens Tournament.

“The story is that countries that are heavily dependent on oil have to think about what else they can do,” said Simon Chadwick, professor of geopolitics and economics at SKEMA Business School.

“Whether it’s football, cricket, rugby, the Olympics. It’s a global language. It transcends many others.”

The surprise announcement this week that the LIV Golf Tournament, owned by the Kingdom’s $980 billion wealth fund, will finally be merged with the PGA Tour and Europe’s DP World Tour was a victory for the Saudis.

Chadwick said the merger to form a new global golf entity gave Saudi Arabia the sporting legitimacy it wanted. “It’s no longer an outsider, it’s at the top table.”

Dr Anas Iktait, Middle East Economics Lecturer at the Australian National University, said the pursuit of legitimacy for international sport seeks to reshape the country’s global image as a destination for sport, business and investment. rice field.

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, Saudi Public Investment Fund President Yasir Al-Rumayyan and PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, Saudi Public Investment Fund President Yasir Al-Rumayyan and PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monaghan.credit: Getty

“This redefined image will be a key factor in attracting foreign direct investment and will be essential for the successful realization of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Vision.”

Saudi Arabia is set to bid to co-host the 2030 FIFA World Cup alongside Greece and Egypt, but there are indications that it is eyeing the US NBA and NFL franchises.

Chadwick argues that sports have long been important geopolitics, noting that colonial Britain developed sports around the empire in the 18th and 19th centuries. But the value has definitely increased, he says.

“We are now beginning to see sport being used for diplomatic purposes…we are beginning to see sport being used for national branding and soft power projection purposes.”

https://www.smh.com.au/world/middle-east/in-a-flurry-of-moves-saudi-arabia-lays-groundwork-for-its-post-oil-future-20230609-p5df8x.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world In a flurry of moves, Saudi Arabia lays foundations for post-oil future

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