The Islamist monarchy of Saudi Arabia may be eyeing other American sports. The blockbuster merger of LIV, a new golf tour controlled by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, with the American PGA Tour earlier this month, represents a major entry for the Saudis into American sports. And it might not be the last one. The fund’s seemingly limitless oil wealth renders it a competitor to wealthy American sports owners. Some of the sporting events already owned by the Saudi state include a Formula One race, World Wrestling Entertainment performances, and the Saudi Cup, the most lucrative horse race in the world, according to the U.K. Guardian. Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman coerced British Prime Minister Boris Johnson into facilitating the nation’s purchase of a franchise in the English Premier League in 2021, according to the New York Post. Clubs within the soccer league had opposed Saudi ownership of Newcastle United on the grounds of the country’s poor human rights record and opposition to Western concepts such as liberty and democracy. The Saudi Public Investment Fund has been linked to American sporting businesses such as Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association and even the Los Angeles Olympic Committee, according to the Post. National Football League insiders don’t rule out the possibility that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund could purchase a stake in a team, or buy a franchise outright, according to the sports-news website Sportsnaut. In a June 7 column, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated suggested the door was open to the possibility after speaking to league presidents on the topic. “I hit up a couple team president types, and while I think starting a whole league isn’t happening, I don’t think it’s out of line to consider the idea that they could someday bid on an NFL team, and maybe even buy one,” Breer wrote. The NFL would have to change a rule barring public companies from owning teams in order for a team to fall into the ownership of the Saudi state. For many Americans, the suspected involvement of the Saudi government in the 9/11 terrorist attacks makes the LIV-PGA merger offensive. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks were Saudi citizens, according to CBS News. 9/11 Families United accused PGA leadership of facilitating Saudi “sportswashing” by allowing the merger with LIV.
A 53 percent majority of Americans expressed a negative view of Saudi Arabia in an October Morning Consult poll. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
“We will never forget.” 9/11 Families United rips the PGA in blistering statement:“PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan co-opted the 9/11 community last year in the PGA’s unequivocal agreement that the Saudi LIV project was nothing more than sportswashing of Saudi Arabia’s reputation.… — Mike Sington (@MikeSington) June 6, 2023