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Saudi-backed SRJ Sports Investments Nears €250m Deal for New Cycling League




Saudi-backed SRJ Sports Investments is on the verge of sealing a substantial deal worth approximately €250 million (US$268.8 million) for a new cycling league, as reported by Reuters.

The investment arm, SRJ Sports Investments, backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), has emerged as the frontrunner in negotiations, outbidding competitors such as private equity fund CVC Capital Partners, in an auction process. The exclusive talks aim to finalise the commercial aspects of the deal within the next two months.


This move positions SRJ to become a significant player alongside leading European cycling teams like Ineos Grenadiers and Visma-Lease a Bike in the proposed league. The primary objective of this new competition is to establish a more sustainable framework for the sport and enhance the teams' share of race revenues. Concerns have been raised by many teams regarding the disproportionate distribution of profits from premier cycling events to event organisers.


Reports indicate that Ernst & Young (EY), a professional services firm, has been actively seeking expressions of interest from potential investors for this initiative since October. The proposed league aims to feature a blend of both new and established races, with notable absentees including the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) and RCS Sports, organisers of prestigious events like the Tour de France and the Giro D’Italia, respectively.


Visma-Lease a Bike, a potential partner in the new league, emphasised the exploratory nature of the venture, stating, "This idea is being explored, as many more ideas are being explored to come up with a sustainable business model for cycling in the future."


SRJ Sports Investments, under the leadership of chief executive Danny Townsend, has expressed a strategic interest in transformative investments, targeting sports with untapped potential and those capable of resonating with the Saudi population. Notably, the firm's initial foray into sports investment saw it inject over US$100 million into the Professional Fighters League (PFL), a significant move aimed at bolstering the mixed martial arts (MMA) organisation.

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