Saudi PIF Expands Into Tennis With ATP Partnership

Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s controversial sovereign wealth fund, is partnering with the Association of Tennis Players (ATP) in its latest push into global sports.

PIF will become the official naming partner of ATP Rankings, according to a news release Wednesday. It will also sponsor various top-tier ATP tour events at Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Beijing, the ATP Finals and the Next Gen ATP Finals as part of the partnership.

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After backing LIV Golf, which divided professional golf by dangling huge paychecks in front of the top players, PIF appears to be taking a more traditional approach to tennis by partnering with the sport’s establishment. The sovereign wealth fund is also reportedly in talks on a WTA partnership.

Financial terms were not disclosed in the ATP announcement.

PIF, which had $700 billion under management as of July 2022, has established over 90 companies since 2017 and is spending increasingly on sports. It invested $100 million in the Professional Fighters League and bought minority ownership into it. PIF also owns a majority stake in English Premier League team Newcastle, has poured billions into the Saudi domestic soccer league and has expanded into motorsports, boxing and WWE.

The WTA, the governing body of women’s tennis, faced backlash from human rights activists for potentially holding its 2024 end-of-season tournament in Saudi Arabia, according to Reuters. Women have historically faced discrimination in the country and only been allowed to play tennis there since 2018, according to the article.

A Harris Poll survey from December 2023 showed most young Americans are unfazed by Saudi investment within American sports, whereas Gen X and the Boomer population more often disagree that the investments are positive.

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