Deadspin examines WWE in Saudi Arabia
Deadspin is featuring an article looking at WWE’s new business partnership with Saudi Arabia and presenting the Greatest Royal Rumble event this Friday.
The article explores how the event is being sponsored by the Saudi General Sports Authority, the government body responsible for all sports events in Saudi. It’s noted that while actual monetary figures won’t be made public until Q2 2018 financials are revealed, the entire show is being funded by the Saudi government and is believed to be quite lucrative for a deal that is estimated to be for 10 years.
Saudi Vision 2030 is cited in the article when it comes to the controversial topic of female WWE performers not being allowed on the card tomorrow. Defined as a “plan to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation and tourism”, it’s a cultural attempt by the Saudi government to embrace change.
The Deadspin article, written by David Bixenspan and Karim Zidan, remained critical of WWE’s decision to do business with the Saudi government despite Vision 2030 plans.
“But WWE’s willingness to host an event in Saudi Arabia makes it the latest sideshow to distract from the ongoing issues within the kingdom. Ultimately, the Greatest Royal Rumble will help cement MBS’s legitimacy by presenting his nation as a modern and reformed country ready to amalgamate with the Western world. Leveraging sports and entertainment events for political gain is a long-celebrated tradition for authoritarian regimes and dictatorships like the Saudi Arabian monarchy. WWE, it appears, is happy to help them along.”
Another early look at Greatest Royal Rumble stage
Photos have been posted to Twitter this week of the stage and setup for tomorrow’s Greatest Royal Rumble event at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium.