October 13 – Saudi Arabia’s influence throughout world football seems to be growing daily. Its tourist authority Visit Saudi having announced it is the main sponsors of CAF’s new African Football League, has followed up with a major partnership with the AFC.
Visit Saudi is becoming an Official Global Partner of AFC National Team competitions, including the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023. Saudi Arabia will host the Asian Cup in 2027, and of course is firm favourite to win the hosting of the 2034 World Cup.
The AFC deal will run through to December 2024 with Visit Saudi – already hosting a number of international football events and having boosted its domestic league with an influx of big name players from Europe – using the sponsorship to showcase Saudi Arabia’s growing tourism business.
The sponsorship kicks off with the Asian Cup in Qatar in January 2024 and covers a busy year of national team events in the AFC region including the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024, the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Final Round) for Paris 2024, the AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup 2024, the AFC U17 Women’s Asian Cup 2024, and AFC Futsal Asian Cup 2024.
Datuk Seri Windsor John, AFC General Secretary, said: “The AFC is pleased to welcome Visit Saudi as our latest Official Global Partner, which once again reiterates the ever-growing stature and profound impact of the AFC’s world-class national teams’ competitions in reaching audiences across the globe.
“We are grateful to Visit Saudi for underlining their belief in Asian football and we look forward to working together to create more milestone moments for all our stakeholders.”
The partnership is the first big deal coming out of the reformatted Asia Football Group (AFG), the AFC’s commercial agency for 2023 – 2028 cycle.
Visit Saudi marketing activation will be via branding at the AFC’s competitions, and with opportunities across the AFC’s digital platforms across Asia. Visit Saudi said it wants “to showcase the best of both Asian football and Saudi Arabia’s broad and exciting sports and tourism offerings”.
Alhasan Aldabbagh, President of APAC Markets at the Saudi Tourism Authority, said: “It is with great excitement that we announce ‘Visit Saudi’s global alliance with the Asian Football Confederation. This ground-breaking partnership is the perfect platform to showcase Saudi’s unparalleled tourism experiences. Saudi’s passion for football is matched only by its mesmerising beauty and rich heritage. I invite every traveller and football fan to come and experience the mesmerising beauty and rich heritage of Saudi. Let the majestic landscapes, ancient monuments, and the Saudi warm hospitality, be your guide to a land where tradition meets modernity.”
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