Opinion Piece: A landmark moment for the MENA region’s sports and entertainment industry

Flash Entertainment’s Operations Director, Salem Al Sulaimani, gives his point of view on how the recent Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo coverage puts the spotlight on KSA and underlines the region’s rapid growth in the Sports and Entertainment industry.

Flash Entertainment | January 24 2023 11:30
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As Cristiano Ronaldo made his KSA debut against PSG and rival Lionel Messi last Thursday, our operations director Salem Al Sulaimani said “Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent transfer to Al Nassr FC in Saudi Arabia has dominated the media landscape recently, with the attention being amplified even further as the 37-year-old prepared to make his much-anticipated debut against PSG and FIFA World Cup 2022 winner Lionel Messi.

While we are yet to see the true impact of the recent World Cup on Qatar, on its economy and its enhanced capabilities to host major events, Ronaldo’s arrival in Saudi Arabia and the subsequent match are great opportunities for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to demonstrate, once again, what it is capable of when it comes to events and entertainment.

And it is an opportune moment for the ever-expanding regional entertainment industry. Flash Entertainment was one of the first to bring major live sporting events to Saudi Arabia. As part of widespread social reforms and economic diversification ambitions, KSA has welcomed major stars and live entertainment in everything from music to boxing, Formula One to horse racing.

Yet having the two biggest stars of football facing off in the heart of Saudi arguably takes things to the next level and, once again, underlines how rapidly the kingdom’s sport and entertainment industry is evolving, and the opportunities available for everyone from event organisers to major sporting bodies and associations.”

Salem added, “Having recently expanded our operations with the opening of a KSA headquarters in Riyadh, we are proud to say that Flash Entertainment is ready to contribute to the continued growth of the kingdom’s entertainment sector, a key pillar of Saudi’s bold Vision 2030.

We are incredibly proud of our 15 years of expertise in producing, delivering and operating major live events across the MENA region, including the UAE, KSA, Qatar and Lebanon. We have partnered with global brands and IPs, including FIFA, UFC, WWE, Disney, NBA and more to deliver unmissable experiences to more than 10 million people over 400+ events.

As Ronaldo expands his footballing horizons, aiming to bring smiles to more fans, our goal at Flash Entertainment, as the Middle East’s leading entertainment company, is to do something very similar – engage with even more audiences through the events and experiences that they demand.

It is our duty to continue helping to develop the regional entertainment landscape by working with both public and private sector stakeholders to deliver events that excite, inspire and promote destinations.

Ronaldo’s move to Al Nassr could not have come at a better time for the sport and entertainment industry in the Middle East – an industry that is making great strides year on year - and we are excited to be part of that journey.

The best is yet to come!”

Salem Al Sulaimani, Operations Director at Flash Entertainment