2034 FIFA World Cup completes Saudi Arabia’s bid to take over global sport

It went very fast, very high, very strong. In eight years, Saudi Arabia has established itself as a key country in the economy and management of world sports. This strategy, built for hundreds of millions of dollars, culminated on October 31 with the very likely acquisition of the organization of the 2034 World Cup, for which it was the only candidate. Victory by technical knockout because there was no choice, no vote, no alternative. Just an observation: Saudi Arabia is now a heavyweight in world sports.

The list of major international sporting events that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – a dynasty in power since the establishment of the monarchy in 1932 – has organized or acquired is dizzying: the Next Gen Tennis Masters and the FIFA Club World Cup in December, the rally-raid of the Dakar from 2020 and for five years the Formula 1 Grand Prix from 2021, the 2029 Asian Winter Games in Neom and the 2034 Summer Games in Riyadh. As of 2020, Saudi Arabia has made the Saudi Cup the richest race in the world with $20 million in winnings. In 2021, he poured hundreds of millions of dollars into attracting top golfers to the parallel LIV Golf circuit, which has no sporting value but is too rich to ignore and is expected to join the US and European circuits later in the year. Riyadh has replaced Las Vegas in boxing, as demonstrated by the Oct. 28 fight between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou.

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Elliot Frost

"Pop culture maven. Analyst. Writer. Wannabe food evangelist. Organizer. Friendly internet lover. Incurable troublemaker. Entrepreneur."