Saudi Arabia has invested millions of dollars in recent years, especially in football. World football superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr. are playing in the Saudi Pro League. Saudi Arabia is also in the forefront of the fight to become the 2034 World Cup football venue. In the meantime, a report is coming out that Mohammed bin Salman has an eye on cricket. Bloomberg reports that Saudi Arabia is eyeing a stake in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The IPL cricket tournament which is staged every year under the BCCI is one of the most lucrative sporting events in the world. It is reported that Mohammed bin Salman and his team discussed the possibilities of investing in IPL with the central government during their visit to India last September as part of the G-20 summit. It is reported that Saudi Arabia has expressed its willingness to invest 500 million dollars (approximately more than Rs. 41,500 crores) in the IPL.
For this purpose, the administration of IPL has been proposed to be transferred under a holding company. IPL Holding Company is assigned a market value of over Rs 3,000 crore (approximately Rs 2.5 lakh crore). Saudi Arabia also promises to work for the development of the cricket competition in foreign countries if it gets a stake in the IPL. Meanwhile, the Indian Cricket Board or BCCI, which is at the helm of the official cricket matches in India, has not yet responded to the issue.
A handful of sponsors from Saudi Arabia are already partnering with the Indian Premier League. Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, and the Saudi Arabia Tourism Department have an advertising contract worth crores. In this context, if Saudi Arabia directly invests in the IPL administration system, billions more will flow into the already rich Indian kids’ cricket majesty.