GOAT effect! Saudi Pro League chief reveals the massive revenue increase witnessed since Cristiano Ronaldo's signing

Cristiano Ronaldo, Al Nassr forward || Photo Credit: Siasat.com

FOOTBALL GOAT effect! Saudi Pro League chief reveals the massive revenue increase witnessed since Cristiano Ronaldo's signing

Joel Omotto 15:10 - 02.09.2023

The Portuguese superstar has been lauded for helping transform the Saudi league from an unknown entity into a money-spinning one.

Cristiano Ronaldo's move to Al-Nassr has had a transformative impact on the Saudi Pro League, according to the country's football chiefs.

Ronaldo became the first superstar to swap Europe for Saudi when he joined Al-Nassr in January 2023 after leaving Manchester United and since then, top names have joined him in the big-paying league.

Saudi Pro League's head of operations Carlo Nohra has now revealed that since Ronaldo's arrival, the competition has grown in popularity, now being telecast in 140 countries with a massive revenue increase.

“Signing Cristiano Ronaldo to play in Saudi Arabia helped broadcast the championship to 140 countries and increased league revenue by 650 percent,” Nohra told AFP.

Ronaldo is the most followed athlete on social media with close to one billion followers on Facebook, X, and Instagram and the Saudi Pro League has leveraged on this to grow its popularity around the world.

His presence has also helped attract more top names such as Brazilian superstar Neymar (Al-Hilal), Frenchman Karim Benzema and his compatriot N'Golo Kante (both at Al-Ittihad), Algerian Riyad Mahrez and Brazilian Roberto Firmino (Al Ahli) among others.

The players have largely been attracted by the huge wages offered in Saudi Arabia but Nohra has defended the approach, claiming it will yield handsome dividends in the long run.

"It’s not something that we expect will happen overnight. It’s not a one-weekend event — this is a long-term project, and everybody accepts that that’s what it will take," he added.

"And it’s not a function of throwing money at it and it will happen. It is ensuring that we do all the right things along the way to bring everything and everybody and the ecosystem up together.” 

The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund decided to go big on established European players to boost the standing of the country's league with the four most popular teams Al-Nassr, Al-Ittihad, Al-Hilal and Al Ahli the first beneficiaries of the big-money state funding.