Governmental support raises market & technical values

The funds provided by the Saudi government has played a key role in increasing the quality of football in the country

The Saudi Professional League has become a huge competitor in the international market after governmental financial support in excess of 660 million USD helped increase the quality of the players in the country.

This makes the domestic league a more attractive destination for all parties including players, managers and fans, in order to help fulfil the goal of making the league one of the top 10 worldwide.

Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Prince Mohamed Ben Salman Ben Abdel-Aziz, was the main supporter of a project starting last season, during which the number of foreign players was increased to eight in each of the 16 teams participating in the competition.

With a total 109 foreign players from 42 nationalities and six continents in the Saudi Professional League, the market prices were enhanced and the division has become more comparable to the leagues in Japan, South Korea and China.

The level of spending in the transfer market in the Saudi Professional League also increased by nearly 485,4% compared to 2017, the sixth-highest globally after Europe's major five leagues -England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France - surpassing the leagues of Portugal and the Netherlands.

In terms of TV broadcasting revenues, the Saudi league was seventh on the global list, which was unsurprisingly been led by the English Premier League, followed by Germany and Spain.

Market values were also enhanced by the increasing fan attendance, after surpassing 10 million supporters in the stadiums, the best number ever domestically.

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This was achieved after the families were permitted to attend the matches for the first time ever, which made it more attractive for sponsors to invest huge amounts of money to appear in advertisements, taking advantage of the new developments taking the Saudi League to a new level globally. 

Last season, the league champion wasn't decided until the last game week, when Al Nassr managed to clinch the title after a tough challenge from rivals Al Hilal, while the battle to avoid relegation was also decided in the final weeks of the competition.

This spurred the country’s participants in the AFC Champions League on, with three Saudi clubs reaching the quarter-finals of this season's edition.