• Saudi Pro League Sees Expansion into UK and US Broadcasting Markets

    Published Friday 11 August 2023 3:32pm

    4 min read

    The Saudi Pro League has recently seen expansion into the UK and US Broadcasting markets via the digital rights sale to DAZN and FOX Sports.

By WherestheMatch Team

The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo to Saudi Arabian Pro League club Al Nassr was a massive coup for the country’s sporting environment. Not previously known as a footballing superpower, the Gulf State has recently invested in excess of £450 million on transfer signings this season alone with several high-profile players making the switch alongside the Portuguese forward. Ran by Saudi Arabia’s Investment Fund, the Pro League is splashing serious cash in order to try and establish themselves on the global stage as a serious footballing nation. The profitability that they’re aiming for doesn’t come easily however, and the League’s viewership numbers are still very far from suggesting that they’re coming anywhere near breaking even on their investment thus far.

Global broadcasting is a major source of income for top sports leagues with divisions such as the Premier League and La Liga both bringing in over a billion in year-on-year revenue. In order to make their division sustainable for the long-term, the Saudi Pro League is going to need to try and match these figures by growing its international following and making their domestic clubs an attractive watch for football fans across the globe. In line with these goals, the Saudi League has secured broadcasting deals within two of the most commercially lucrative markets – the UK and US.

DAZN Secures Rights to Show the Saudi Pro League in the UK

The first broadcaster to acquire full rights to show the Saudi Pro League in the UK is DAZN. Paying roughly half a million, the London-founded entertainment group have signed a one-year deal to display at least two games from each round of fixtures. Ronaldo’s club Al Nassr have been chosen as the main poster boys of the division with their matches being selected for broadcast on a weekly basis. While DAZN are the first UK broadcaster to sign a full-season deal, it was actually Sky Sports that were showing select fixtures in the 2022-23 season after they acquired the digital rights following the transfer of Ronaldo.

There are also discussions regarding weekly digital highlight shows for the Saudi Pro League – something akin to the Premier League’s ‘Match of The Day’. Will we see them try and temp UK pundits away from the comfort of their BBC Sports offices?

Saudi Pro League Signs Broadcasting Deal with FOX in the US

Seeing the potential profitability in an established following within the States, the Saudi Pro League has offered their broadcasting rights to several well-known US channels. It was FOX Sports that showed great interest in promoting the league, signing a deal that is rumoured to cover the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons. While full details of the deal have yet to be released, we do know that the coverage will be made available in both English and Spanish in an attempt to make the league marketable to a wider demographic.

The Saudi Pro League might be a tough sell to US audiences seeing as football only really became truly mainstream several seasons ago and you can’t quite see the Saudis overtaking any of the top five European leagues, or even the US’s own domestic MLS division.

Countries With Saudi Pro League Broadcasting Rights

The Saudi Pro League will reportedly be shown in over 130 countries and territories in the 2023-24 season. Available across much of Europe, Asia, Africa, as well as in North & South America, the Saudi League has seen considerable international growth over the last twelve months.

Keep up with the all of the latest fixtures on our Saudi Pro League on TV guide at WheresTheMatch.