Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is discussing the creation of a new professional boxing league, which would significantly reshape the sport.

The Deal in the Making

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is in talks with boxing promoters Golden Boy and Matchroom, which could lead to a massive $4-5 billion deal to create a new league. The idea would make it easier for fights to take place. PIF would have a minority stake in the creation of this league.

“PIF is looking to invest in a joint venture with some of the sport’s stakeholders that would feature more boxing bouts,” per Reuters.  “PIF wants to create a venture that would bring the main sport’s organizers together.”

With the money Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has, they can change the sport in a major way, and the promoters will likely agree to their ideas.

Reshaping the Landscape of Boxing

The new league could change the sport, which currently has four sanctioning bodies: IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO. These organizations rank fighters and award their titles along with sanctioning fees for the belts.

The new boxing league could affect those four sanctioning bodies. Oftentimes, the rankings make little sense, setting up bizarre mandatories fights that aren’t marketable.

Whether the new league would make the sanctioning bodies a thing of the past is unclear, but for many fans, it would please them to see them eliminated or marginalized.

Challenges and Opportunities

For the new league to work, all the major promotional companies would need to agree to participate. It would confuse fans if one or two of the biggest sanctioning bodies chose not to participate to protect their fighters from being beaten.

Historically, promoters have grown accustomed to protecting their fighters with careful match-making.

However, under a new league, these promoters’ fighters couldn’t be protected, as they would be forced to fight the best, which could change their marketability.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the promotional companies that disagree with having their fighters participate in the new league. That would be bad for fans if there were two or more leagues as we saw with the AFL and NFL, which didn’t merge into one league until before the 1970 season.

Under the Vision 2030 program, Saudi Arabia wants to diversify its economy from being oil-dependent. With sports investment, its strategy is to increase tourism and create jobs.

Boxing isn’t the only sport PIF has invested in. They’ve also invested in golf, football and Formula 1.

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