After months of speculation, it has been revealed that Saudi Arabia is going to host the FIFA World Cup in 2034. This came after years of lobbying, and a relatively clear path opening up after changes in the bidding process left the bid virtually unopposed.
It will also be a reversion into old territory as far as the FIFA World Cup is concerned. In 2026, the tournament is to take place across three American countries: the US, Canada, and Mexico.
In 2030, it will go one step further and be held across two continents, with games being held in Spain, Portugal, and Morocco – opening the event will be Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
In 2034, however, things will go back to basics. Saudi Arabia will host the entire tournament, with the games set to take place in the King Fahd International Stadium, King Abdullah Stadium, Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium, and many more legendary stadiums across the country.
Implications For Saudi Arabian Business
So what exactly does this mean for Saudi Arabia – and specifically, Saudi Arabian business? According to reports, the most recent FIFA World Cup in Qatar brought around $17 billion into the country’s economy, and it could be even more where Saudi Arabia is concerned.
Over the last few years, the country has put around $1 trillion into sports or sports-related projects, leading it to be picked for several top-tier sporting exhibitions including golf, F1, boxing, cricket, and WWE. These have been enormously successful for the country, with millions, specifically, tuning into the WWE Crown Jewel earlier in October.
The FIFA World Cup, however, is the creme de la creme of sporting tournaments. The bidding process is long and arduous, but the rewards for winning always make it worthwhile. For Saudi Arabia, it marks a significant step in the road to achieving everything Saudi Vision 2030 set out to achieve: economic diversification, global engagement, and enhanced quality of life.
Investment In New Opportunities
One of the first things this event might lead to is investment in betting and casino industry opportunities. At the tail-end of 2022, the global online casino industry was sitting at $63 billion, and it is expected to reach nearly $71 billion by the end of this year.
Like the USA, not every Middle-Eastern country allows online gambling, but with a recent move from UAE to establish an iGaming regulator, this might be about to change. The top Arab casino sites available for players are already doing well, but with the FIFA World Cup coming to Saudi Arabia, this could spur increased interest in betting and iGaming as a whole, if not for Saudi Arabia, then certainly for other areas across the Middle-East.
This is also backed up by another blossoming Saudi Arabian Business: eSports. Toward the end of October, Saudi Arabia announced that it would launch an annual eSports World Cup, including the most popular games and the largest prize pool in eSports history.
The first competition is set to be held in 2024, and it forms a significant part of the country’s Saudi Vision 2030 plan – which includes not only sports, but eSports and gaming too.
By the time the 2034 World Cup hits, this industry might be at its peak, and the revenue and global interest that will hit the country will only drive it further, giving more opportunities for eSports and gaming businesses across Saudi Arabia.
Job Creation To Reach Another Level
When it comes to eSports, Saudi Arabia is looking to set up 250 gaming companies, which will lead to the creation of 39,000 new jobs. The FIFA World Cup itself is set to create even more new jobs, with some estimates placing the total number beyond 5 million.
When you consider that Qatar managed to create 1.5 million new jobs ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, it looks likely that Saudi Arabia will look to replicate that. This will mean more workers earning a living in the country, which will similarly boost the Saudi Arabian economy and drive business for all start-ups and established organisations that have made Saudi Arabia their home.
For those involved in the 2034 World Cup preparations – and those who are waiting to benefit – it is certainly an exciting time that marks a significant change in Saudi Arabia’s fortunes.
When the Saudi Vision 2030 was initiated, it wasn’t clear whether it was possible to achieve what the country was setting out to achieve. But with this successful bid – along with many other innovative moves across several industries – it looks like the Saudi dream is coming true.