Spanish soccer giants Real Madrid have unveiled regional financial firm Saudi Investment Bank (SAIB) as the club’s official bank sponsor as it continues to boost its profile in the Middle East through commercial partnerships.
The deal will see SAIB gain access to exclusive benefits and opportunities, including hosting events, offering promotions, and creating digital content with the club. The club will also help SAIB expand its customer base and increase brand awareness for the bank in Saudi Arabia and internationally.
The club has stressed this sponsorship deal is separate from activities by the state-owned Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), which owns English Premier League side Newcastle United.
It also emphasized that the deal does not affect its partnership with long-standing main shirt sponsor Emirates Airline, the national carrier of fellow Middle Eastern kingdom, the United Arab Emirates.
SAIB chief executive Faisal Al-Omram said: “We're very pleased to have signed this agreement with Real Madrid, one of the best, if not the best football team in the world.
“We're eager to offer unique experiences to Real Madrid fans in Saudi Arabia and we want this agreement to last.”
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The sponsorship adds to Real Madrid’s commercial deals in the region, having announced a multi-year deal with Visit Dubai, which will become the club’s first-ever official destination partner, earlier this month.
Under that tie-up, which covers Real Madrid’s men’s and women’s teams, the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), which manages Visit Dubai, will provide exclusive travel and soccer experiences for the club’s fans and hold several fan activations throughout the sponsorship.
Visit Dubai, meanwhile, gains branding assets and hospitality within Real Madrid’s newly renovated Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
Emilio Butragueño, Real Madrid’s director of institution relations, said: “We're really excited about this partnership. It will help us to grow as a club and strengthen the relationship with all of our fans in Saudi Arabia, a country that is undergoing tremendous expansion in football terms.
“We believe it comes at the perfect time for us, so we're really pleased and hope this alliance can last for many years.”
The partnership comes as Saudi Arabia ramps up its soccer partnerships as it looks to win the rights to host the 2034 FIFA men’s World Cup.
Earlier this month, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) announced its intention to bid for the tournament in 11 years’ time. Within 72 hours of SAFF declaring its interest, more than 70 FIFA Member Associations publicly pledged their support for the kingdom.
Days after pledging their support for the kingdom's bid, the Asian Football Confederation and Confederation of African Football governing bodies both announced Visit Saudi as a commercial partner.
Visit Saudi also has a sponsorship deal in place with Spanish soccer’s top-tier LaLiga, while Italian side AS Roma announced a two-year front-of-shirt sponsorship deal with Saudi Arabia’s winter festival Riyadh Season earlier this month.
Saudi Arabia is already set to host the 2023 Club World Cup and the 2027 AFC Asia Cup, among others.
The kingdom has emerged as a key player in sports investment in recent years and has poured billions into major events. However, it has been accused of using its financial prowess to launder its alleged human rights abuses, restrictions on women’s rights, and use of the death penalty.
Its latest project has been to bring high-profile players to its domestic league through lucrative contracts and high transfer fees, the latest being Brazilian superstar Neymar.