Very few would have predicted this. The Saudi Pro League have hit hard this transfer window with the backing of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (SPIF).
They don’t look like stopping either with as many as more than 20 plus transfers have already completed between Saudi and European clubs. The Saudi clubs have offered massive contracts and the pull is too big for any player to turn down.
Cristiano Ronaldo was the one who began this trend with his move to Al Nassr in January 2024 and was also the first major move by Saudi PIF. This sent a rippling effect across the footballing world and now other SPIF clubs like Al Ittihad and Al Hilal have made their own moves.
Ronaldo’s arrival was just the beginning, with Roberto Firmino, Edouard Mendy, N’Golo Kante, Karim Benzema, Ruben Neves and Kalidou Koulibaly among the famous players who have moved to Saudi Arabian clubs in 2023.
Al Nassr’s singing of Ronaldo meant they wanted to close the gap between them and the SPL title. They narrowly missed it last season, but with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner and the new signings, things might look different come the end of the season.
The 38-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo, who has the most international goals and appearances, joined Al Nassr on a two-and-a-half-year contract, that began on January 1, 2023.
Al Nassr won their last league title in the 1018/19 season and in the process became the competition’s second most successful side with nine titles. Ahead of the are Al Hilal with 18 league titles to their name, who have also won the last three out of four editions of SPL.
The league’s defending champions are Al Ittihad who now have the likes of Benzema and Kante in their ranks in a bid to retain their title.
With so many big names arriving in the Arabian continent, TV rights have become a big talking point in the rest of the world. So where and how to watch the up-and-coming Saudi Pro League?
Where to watch Saudi Pro League
A short-term deal was put in place by Sky Sports in January 2023 to show Al Nassr games after Ronaldo’s transfer there. The TV broadcaster though has yet to confirm whether or not they will renew the deal for the upcoming 23/24 season.
For now, UK viewers will have to subscribe to Shahid to watch the Saudi Pro League, which is available worldwide. A subscription costs £8.99 per month or £76.99 for a year.
The 2023/24 Saudi Pro League be broadcasted live on Sony Sports Ten TV Channels and HD Channels in India and the rest of its Indian sub-continent.
Live streaming of the 2023/24 Saudi Pro League will be available on Sony LIV.
In the US, selective games will be telecast on ESPN which are available to watch in the country. It is yet to be confirmed if the broadcaster will allow to view all the games of the Saudi Pro League.
A subscription to Shahid is an option for the USA residents like the majority of other nations.
Rest of the world
While multiple short-term deals were agreed in principle with broadcasters for viewing the Saudi Pro League, there is still no confirmation of any long-term deals.
For now, viewers will have to subscribe to Shahid to watch the Saudi Pro League, as the subscription service currently has exclusive global streaming rights. A subscription costs £8.99 per month or £76.99 for a year.