NEOM, a 26,500-square-kilometer development on the Red Sea, in the northwest region of Saudi Arabia, has become a hub for the sports sector. With a strong emphasis on sport as one of its 14 core pillars, NEOM aims to become the most physically active place on earth by 2030. This ambitious goal has led to the development of a thriving sports sector in NEOM, with numerous investment and job opportunities available.
The woman in charge of making this happen is Jan Paterson, the head of the sports sector at NEOM. Paterson said that it’s important to approach this as a marathon, not a sprint, and to make sure that NEOM does not drop the baton or trip over its own feet. She also emphasized the need for partnerships and sponsorship opportunities at regional, national, and international levels to achieve this goal.
NEOM has already hosted its inaugural Beach Soccer Cup in 2019, which was won by Oman against Egypt in the final. The tournament is scheduled to return this year after being postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19. NEOM also hosted the Dakar Rally in January 2021, and Formula E organizers are in discussions with NEOM about adding the destination to the Saudi race calendar. In March 2020, NEOM signed a long-term sponsorship agreement to become the principal partner of the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E team.
Recently, NEOM became a global partner of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) until 2024. The agreement includes major AFC national team competitions, such as the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar Final Round featuring the continent’s top-12 football nations, and Asia’s flagship national team competition – the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 – which is set to take place in China PR. NEOM is also set to host major international sporting events and create a sports academy.
Paterson said that partnerships are critical for NEOM to learn fast, exchange best practices, target organizations with the same value systems, and address global challenges together. She feels like a kid in a candy shop as she helps sculpt the sporting landscape at NEOM and welcomes the world’s best athletes to NEOM by 2030.
Key Data in NEOM Sport Sector:
- NEOM aims to become the most physically active place on earth by 2030.
- NEOM hosted its inaugural Beach Soccer Cup in 2019, which saw Oman run out winners against Egypt in the final.
- In March last year, NEOM became a global partner of the Asian Football Confederation in a deal through to 2024, which includes major AFC national team competitions.
- NEOM signed a long-term sponsorship agreement to become the principal partner of the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E team.
- NEOM is in discussions with Formula E organizers to add the destination to the Saudi race calendar.
Investment Opportunities in NEOM Sport Sector
The sports sector in NEOM offers a wide range of investment opportunities for local and international investors. Among the major projects in the sector are the following:
- Sports Academy: NEOM aims to establish a world-class sports academy to provide top-notch training facilities for aspiring athletes. The academy will focus on a range of sports, including football, basketball, tennis, swimming, and athletics. Investors can explore opportunities to fund the construction and operation of this academy.
- Major International Sporting Events: NEOM aims to host major international sporting events, including Formula E, Dakar Rally, Beach Soccer Cup, and more. These events provide a unique opportunity for investors to sponsor and associate their brands with these high-profile events.
- Sports Infrastructure: NEOM is developing state-of-the-art sports infrastructure, including stadiums, arenas, and training facilities, to support the sports sector’s growth. Investors can explore opportunities to fund the construction of these facilities.
Job Opportunities in NEOM Sport Sector
The sports sector in NEOM also offers numerous job opportunities for sports enthusiasts and professionals. Some of the job opportunities available include:
- Coaching: NEOM’s sports academy requires qualified coaches to train aspiring athletes in various sports. Coaches with expertise in football, basketball, tennis, swimming, and athletics can explore job opportunities in the academy.
- Event Management: With NEOM hosting major international sporting events, there is a need for skilled event management professionals to plan and execute these events successfully.
- Sports Infrastructure Management: NEOM’s sports infrastructure requires skilled professionals to manage and maintain these facilities, including stadiums, arenas, and training centers.
NEOM’s sports sector has become a hub for investment and job opportunities, with major projects and events in the pipeline. As NEOM continues to develop into the most physically active place on earth by 2030, the sports sector will continue to thrive, offering even more investment and job opportunities for sports enthusiasts and professionals alike.