Saudi Arabian sustainable urban development Neom has been announced as a new partner of Indian cricket giants Rajasthan Royals of the country’s elite-tier Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket competition.

As a “principal partner” of the team, the Royals will wear Neom branding on the secondary front-of-shirt sponsorship spot through the 2024 and 2025 IPL seasons.

Neom, which is also partnered with Saudi Arabia's cricket governing body, initially partnered with the Royals ahead of the 2023 IPL season for a community sports program in the Jaipur region of India where the team is based.

That partnership, which Neom referred to as a “pilot program” has now been upgraded into a full-scale partnership with Neom Sport managing director Jan Paterson stating: “Following a successful pilot program last year, we are excited to take our partnership with the Royals to the next level as a principal partner and continue growing cricket as a tool for social growth.

“Working with the Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation and Rajasthan Royals will enable us to provide cricket for men, women, girls, and boys alike, across NEOM. This will pave the way for development at an individual level and contribute to the growth of the sport across the kingdom while amplifying the Neom brand globally.”

Rajasthan Royals lead owner Manoj Badale added: “his landmark deal, emblematic of our global reach, national appeal as a franchise and cricketing expertise, signifies a shared commitment towards creating a positive societal impact… This partnership also provides us with the opportunity to work as a conduit for fostering connections between Neom and our passionate Indian supporters."

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Neom has expanded its presence in sport greatly over the last few years as construction ramps up on the project, including with Formula E and Extreme E motor racing team McLaren, and is a global partner of Asian soccer’s AFC governing body.

Neom stated of the Royals partnership that its “commitment to establishing a foundation for the cricket ecosystem, along with its ongoing improvements to its cricket facilities, aligns with national-level efforts for the growth of the sport within the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia].”

In November 2023 it was reported that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was eyeing up an investment into the IPL worth as much as $5 billion.

In any case, Neom’s partnership with the Royals – who won the original IPL in 2008 but have not lifted the trophy since – strengthens ties between the league and the Kingdom, whose tourism authority also partners the IPL.

It also indicates that the Kingdom is stepping up its investments into cricket, which it does not yet have as much a presence in as it does in soccer and golf.

That may now be changing, however, with these reports following some in early 2023 that suggested Saudi government officials had discussions with IPL franchise owners about trying to set up a similar competition in the kingdom.

The Royals, meanwhile, failed to make it out of the league stage during the 2023 campaign.