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New era for Saudi Pro League sees unprecedented growth, global fan engagement

The Saudi Pro League’s new era has witnessed an unprecedented impact in broadcasting revenue, digital growth, and global fan engagement, data shows.

The introduction of world class international talent to the league in the first few months of the 2023/2024 season has recorded significant engagement among both local and international fans, the SPL said in a statement.

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Cristiano Ronaldo plays for Al Nassr. (Supplied)

Cristiano Ronaldo plays for Al Nassr. (Supplied)

Through the newly launched Player Acquisition Centre of Excellence (PACE), 152 players from 47 different countries were signed – forming 29.1 percent of the player pool in the SPL.

Some of the most popular signings included Neymar, Karim Benzema, and Roberto Firmino, all of whom have joined alongside five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.

Neymar Jr. (Supplied)

Neymar Jr. (Supplied)

Following six rounds of games ahead of the international break, attendance figures stood at a total of 440,003 across the stadiums, according to the SPL. This is a 25 percent increase on last year’s attendances for the same period.

Integrating talent

The new foreign players have integrated with members of Saudi Arabia’s national team, including the Under-23 squad who won the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup.

“The Saudi Pro League has undergone a rapid and unprecedented transformation this season, where we have seen 94 players bought from around the world providing a centralized approach to governance, transfers, squad mapping and player care,” Michael Emenalo, Saudi Pro League Director of Football, said.

“It’s also allowed us to help to create clear developmental pathways for Saudi youth while also giving them immediate playing opportunities.”

The efforts to recruit top international talent are all part of the SPL and Saudi Arabian Football Federation’s (SAFF) strategy to foster and develop local young talent alongside the best international players with the aim of increasing the league’s competitiveness on and off the pitch while ensuring a sustainable future.

“This is an exciting time for fans of football in Saudi Arabia. We are witnessing something very special. The combination of international stars and young Saudi talent is generating genuine excitement on and off the pitch, and also raising standards to the highest possible level among our own player pool in Saudi,” Carlo Nohra, the Chief Operating Officer of the Saudi Pro League said:

The results are evident in the data, the SPL said in a statement.

Promising stats

The weekly average number of goals recorded throughout the first six weeks of the matches increased by 26.3 percent to 27.1, compared to 17 goals per week for the same period last term.

On the pitch success has also aided off the pitch growth and the league’s ambitions across commercial, broadcast, and digital channels.

Karim Benzema. (Supplied)

Karim Benzema. (Supplied)

There has been significant interest from local, regional, and global brands which is expected to see the number of sponsors grow by approximately 75 percent this season, the statement continued.

This would result in the SPL becoming the globe’s third most profitable league in terms of sponsorship revenue.

“The raised levels of interest in the Roshn Saudi League (Saudi Pro League), both by football fans in the Kingdom and around the world, and in terms of the unprecedented number of potential global sponsorship opportunities, are clear evidence that the strategy is starting to work,” COO Nohra said.

Meanwhile, around the world, sports fans have been able to tune in to the new season because of the network of international broadcast deals through 38 broadcasters.

The league has deals across 140 territories with matches shown live on DAZN in multiple markets – Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, and the UK – as well as major European broadcasters including Canal+ (France), Sport TV (Portugal), La 7 (Italy), (Spain) and Cosmote (Greece).

These high-profile broadcast deals have caused a major uptick in engagement with football fans around the globe, and increased league revenue by 650 percent, which the SPL has said is clear evidence of the league’s successful transformation strategy.

“We have a more competitive product, on and off the pitch, and we are moving to the next level in both areas, in line with our strategy. The next phase for us on this wonderful journey will be building infrastructure and developing the league further off the pitch, while ensuring we have a world-class product that engages and excites on the pitch,” Nohra said.

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Almarai signs an MoU with the Authority of People with Disabilities to train and employ them.

Almarai Company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Authority of People with
Disabilities to train, qualify and employ persons with disabilities. This came on the sidelines of
the First International Labor Market Conference, organized by the Ministry of Human Resources
and Social Development on December 13 – 14, 2023, at the King Abdulaziz Convention Center
in Riyadh.

The memorandum was signed by the Chief Human Resources Officer of Almarai Company,
Fahad Mohammed Aldrees, and the CEO of the Authority of People with Disabilities, Dr.
Hisham bin Muhammad Al-Haidari.

“This agreement comes within the framework of the company’s social responsibility program, as
Almarai employs more than 500 people with disabilities, which is one of the most suitable work
environments for them.” Fahad Aldrees said. Pointing out that Almarai has the “Silent Line”,
which is one of its production lines that is designated for people with hearing disabilities.

It is worth mentioning that Almarai supports over 300 charity organizations annually across the
kingdom that operate in the field of community development.

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Central Phuket Shopping Center Prepared Surprises This Christmas & New Year 2024

Central Phuket Shopping Center, the luxury lifestyle landmark o Phuket, invites everyone to celebrate Christmas and New Year 2024 in The Great Celebration 2024 Campaign. Joining hands with global partner ‘The Pokémon Company’, Central Phuket bring over Pokémon, the super cute character popular around the world, for all locals and international fans. The special campaign launch presents a procession of cute ‘Pikachu’ alongside with the giant Christmas tree for the first time in Thailand.
This December, Central Phuket prepared many activities for shoppers when visiting Phuket! Experience the “Surprise of the Day” with free Cotton Candy for our little ones, a sweet and fluffy treat, a special gift from Central Phuket. Bring your kids to enjoy this sweet treat every Saturday and Sunday throughout the month of December. Don’t miss the Christmas Carol that
everyone loves, little Santas spread freshness by singing together in the Christmas Carol activity. Plus, Christmas Live Music, the festival of joy is back! Celebrate Christmas in a luxurious and classy atmosphere, enjoying the music that will bring us joy. Also, there will be Christmas Troop, Santa Claus is coming to town! The Santa troop will spread happiness throughout Central Phuket. Lastly, Cake Workshop, workshop activity with Chef Sebastien’s IRON CHEF Thailand teaching how to make Christmas Vanilla Cake. A special activity for the Christmas season. Moreover, Central Phuket provides special promotion exclusively for international tourists throughout December 23 – January 24 including:

1) Get Free! Tourist welcome discount package valued up to THB 10,000.
2) Receive THB 100 Gift voucher when spending up to THB 2,500 per receipt.
3) Get to buy ‘Happy Holiday Collections’ special price: Pokémon 2-in-1 pillow blanket, tumbler, travel bag set, and keychain. Visit redemption counter for the price.
4) Exclusive for Grab Users get discount code up to 25% off* when traveling to participating Central Shopping Centers.
5) Receive famous Elephant Pants when spending over THB 5,000 in shopping center.
6) Get Free! H&M THB 100 gift voucher when booking any accommodations in Phuket with Agoda. Terms and conditions apply.

Central Phuket is a home of global luxury brands such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Saint Laurent. Exclusive for this season, Louis Vuitton launches a pop-up store located at Central Phuket. The design is inspired by the story of Damier or Checkerboard, the brand’s signature pattern. This classic pattern was created by Louis
Vuitton and his son Georges Vuitton in 1888 and has always been part of the design of Maison’s iconic items and concepts. Find clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories for men at the Pop-up Store from Louis Vuitton at Central Phuket, 1st floor, from today until 31 March 2024. And with over 500 renowned fashion brands and lifestyle shops ranging from local to international
well-known brands covering all categories, international shoppers will be able to find what they are looking for in Central Phuket.
Central Phuket is located in the heart of one of the world’s most famous beach cities, Phuket and await to welcome both locals and international visitors this holiday. Also, don’t miss one of the most joyful New Year Count Down events in Phuket city at Central Phuket Shopping Center on December 31, 2023.

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Saudi Fund for Development Provides $100 Million Development Loan for the Rogun Hydropower Project

The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Chief Executive Officer, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, signed a new development loan agreement with the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Kahhorzoda Fayziddin Sattor, through which SFD is contributing $100 million USD to fund the Rogun Hydropower Project, a landmark initiative that will enhance energy,
food, and water security, and foster sustainable development in the country. The signing was attended by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Waleed Al-Reshiadan, and the Ambassador of Tajikistan to Saudi Arabia, H.E. Akram Karimi, alongside other officials from both sides. SFD’s development loan will help contribute towards a more sustainable and equitable food and water future for Tajikistan, while driving the country’s energy transition and climate resilience. The project aims to contribute to the national energy security and will help advance sustainable
development in the Republic of Tajikistan, by providing the renewable electricity supply to meet local demand and expand electricity production domestically and regionally, producing 3600 MW of energy. The loan agreement will also finance the construction of a 335-meter-tall dam, which will enhance irrigation capabilities and bolster agricultural activities across the country. Additionally, the project will improve flood protection through the construction of four hydraulic
tunnels for diversion and drainage. It will also provide clean and drinkable water to people through desalination, and help advance socio-economic development, by creating both direct and indirect jobs.
Importantly, this project also supports the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); specifically, SDG 2, Zero Hunger, SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation, and SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy.
On this occasion, the CEO of SFD, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, said: “Today’s signing marks a major milestone in our shared journey towards a more sustainable future. With this landmark development loan, SFD is not just supporting Tajikistan’s energy future, but also its sustainable development and the well-being of its people. The Rogun Hydropower Project is a beacon of
hope for a bright future that is powered by clean, renewable energy. It will propel Tajikistan towards environmental stewardship and prosperity.”

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