Friday, April 19, 2024

Saudi Arabia’s Entertainment and Sports Investments Transforming Economy and Brand Opportunities

Story by Sam Bradley


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In the early 20th century, California’s oil-rich landscapes birthed both the tech and film industries. Today, Saudi Arabia is poised for a similar transformation, heavily investing in entertainment, sports, and film, echoing its Vision 2030 economic plan to diversify away from oil.

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival and a $100 million production fund are just the beginning. With over $6 billion invested since 2021, including hosting Formula One and WWE events, the kingdom aims to redefine its global image and attract international brands.

According to Azhar Siddiqui of Mediaplus Middle East, Saudi Arabia’s entertainment push is reshaping it into a vibrant market for brands seeking new audiences. Despite criticism, multinational advertisers are flocking to tap into the kingdom’s burgeoning economy and young, tech-savvy population of 36 million.

Adel Baraja of Publicis Communications KSA highlights the growth opportunities created by Saudi’s focus on mega-events, attracting brands across sectors like FMCG, automotive, and retail.

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As media investment rises, brands are increasingly seeking locally produced content to connect with Saudi audiences.

Rami Hmadeh, managing partner at Serviceplan Arabia, says that it marks a “growing openness among brands within the country to invest in advertising.”

“This trend likely reflects an increasing recognition of the value of strategic advertising in driving brand awareness and engagement in a competitive market. As the country continues to embrace economic diversification and digital transformation, particularly under Vision 2030, brands seem more willing to allocate resources towards creative and impactful advertising strategies,” Hmadeh adds. He says the agency network is itself investing in the country, recruiting Saudi creatives.

While Saudi Arabia may not dethrone Hollywood, its narrative on the global stage presents endless opportunities for brands to diversify their audiences and enhance their brand image. As Baraji puts it, “brands are capitalizing on this global platform to explore innovative partnerships and enhance their brand image.”

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