Saudi sports sector offers vast investment potential

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JEDDAH — A workshop organized by the Makkah Economic Forum has highlighted huge investment opportunities in the Saudi sports sector that can contribute to the growth of the national economy and create plenty of new jobs for the youth in the Kingdom.

Addressing the workshop titled, ‘Generation 2030: Opportunities for Innovation in the Sportstainment Economy’, Lina Khaled Almaeena, member of the Shoura Council, pointed out that major transformations inspired by Vision 2030 have opened up new business avenues in the sports sector.

She said prospects for growth have increased substantially in the wake of landmark decisions such as permitting Saudi women to attend matches in stadiums, introducing physical education classes at public schools for girls, and issuing licenses to open women gyms and sports centers. Lina called on investors to translate these opportunities into successful projects focused on women and children segments of the society.

Prince Bandar Al Saud, Chairman and Co-founder of Crescent Technologies KSA, explained that sports sector needs to be viewed beyond sporting activities such as football and basketball. He drew attention to lucrative business opportunities in sports related areas such as creating specially designed abayas that women can use for fitness activities, including walking. Selling food and drinks during sports events at stadiums is another opportunity, he added.

Ziad Jarrar, Founder and Chief Design Officer at Taurus.com, said empowering people to apply for licenses to open sports centers and projects will create a strong social influence and increase people awareness about attractive opportunities that did not exist earlier in the sector.

Some of the economic opportunities discussed during the workshop included sports management, sports event organization and sponsorship, snacks for athletes, educational courses on food, therapy and sports injuries, sportswear, women’s sports accessories which reflect the national identity, performance measurement center, sports tourism and sports equipment manufacturing.

The speakers also gave useful tips to young entrepreneurs, sharing insights into the challenges they themselves faced when they started their businesses and how they overcame those hurdles. They urged Saudi youth interested in investing in the sector to focus on niche areas and identify the services or products which people actually require. Calling on entrepreneurs to search for new and innovative ideas in the sector, they described a successful business as one that offers efficient solutions and added-value to the society.

The workshop was held as part of a series of activities lined up by the Makkah Economic Forum across the entire year to involve the private sector as an active partner in the region’s development programs and help realize the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030. — SG


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