AlUla set to host second edition of Saudi Tour next year

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The Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia is a win-win for both nations’ football officials

It is no surprise that Saudi football fans have embraced the Spanish Super Cup which takes place in Riyadh. It’s more than just a sporting event.

Tickets for the first semi-final between Real Madrid and Barcelona – arguably the two most popular foreign clubs among football fans in the Kingdom – sold out less than an hour after going on sale, confirming that this tournament could well be part of the fabric of Saudi Arabia. Vision 2030 launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

As part of several local and international sporting events held in the country, it was agreed in 2019 to hold the Supercopa de España over a three-year period in Saudi Arabia.

The decision supported by Prince Mansour bin Khalid Al-Farhan, Ambassador of the Kingdom to Spain; Yasser Al-Mishal, president of the Saudi Football Federation; Luis Rubiales, President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation; and parties from Real Madrid and Barcelona, ​​as well as representatives from other elite clubs in Spain.

The move was not without controversy, however, with Spanish fans and media expressing resentment that the mini-tournament was taken overseas.

Nonetheless, the move will benefit Spanish football financially – helping to stave off some clubs going bankrupt – and in terms of global exposure.

The Spanish Football Federation earns more than $8 million a year from TV broadcasting rights, which means that in a four-day tournament they will receive around $24 million from the three agreed editions.

The 2020-21 edition of the competition was not held in Saudi Arabia due to the pandemic, but was held in Andalusia, with the final played at Sevilla’s La Cartuja stadium behind closed doors.

For 2021-22, Saudi Arabia was again able to host the tournament, prompting the president of the Spanish federation to announce the renewal of the current contract until 2029, meaning the Royal Andalusian Football Federation will receive between 274 and 365 million dollars.

This year, Real Madrid and Barcelona received $7.8 million each, while other semi-finalists Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid only received $913,000, with the difference explained. by the popularity and history of the two former clubs.

The tournament prize money will reach $16 million, with the winner receiving $4.3 million and the runner-up $3.2 million. The losing semi-finalists will receive $913,000.

If Real Madrid wins the title, total revenue could reach $13.7 million, taking into account commercial and advertising revenue.

Rubiales has said more than once that the arrangement with Saudi Arabia will help save Spanish football, in economic terms, especially after the outbreak of the global pandemic.

Leaders and sports officials in the Kingdom want the Spanish Super Cup to be included in the Vision 2030 plan and the “Quality of Life” program for Saudi fans, especially as it takes place during the Riyadh season , which is organized and managed by Turki Al-Sheikh, Chairman of the Entertainment Authority.

Since the announcement of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia has hosted an increasing number of international sports events and competitions.

The Italian Super Cup preceded its Spanish counterpart, while motorsport has also flourished, with the Dakar Rally, Formula E and, more recently, the Saudi Arabian Formula 1 Grand Prix all here to stay.

Many other sports, from golf to WWE and the Saudi Cup in horse racing, have also become annual events.

The great notoriety of the Spanish Super Cup is part of this calendar.

For the Spanish authorities, the competition offers a financial boost to the game and its clubs, while for the Saudi sports leaders, it is about bringing entertainment to the people of the Kingdom.

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