Skip to content

Koch Discusses Saudi Arabia’s Investment in Sports in El País Article

February 23, 2024

El País

Natalie Koch

Natalie Koch

Saudi Arabia is shaking up the world sports game with investments of unprecedented size and characteristics. The maneuver opens a new stage, which goes beyond the traditional vectors by adding a strategy of attracting money of sovereign wealth funds from world-class champions to build a new broad-spectrum national sports ecosystem.

“I believe that the main reasons are internal development,” says Natalie Koch, professor of geography and the environment. “On the one hand, of an economic nature, in the sense of creating new activity, attracting tourists, etc. On the other hand, of a political nature, with the objective of building legitimacy of the State, of promoting a consensus of Saudi nationalism,” she says.

“These investments try to connect with as many young Arabs who have an interest in sports,” Koch says. “It is part of the construction of a new identity, one that goes beyond the concept of being the epicenter of the Sunni Muslim world.”

Read more in the El País article, “The world of sports is reconfigured to the rhythm of geopolitical change.”

Communications and Media Relations Office
200 Eggers Hall