Saudi Arabia hoping to host Wrestlemania, Royal Rumble

Image Credit: Turki Alalshikh

Saudi Arabia is hoping to only expand their partnerships with TKO brands.

After extending a deal with UFC this week, Saudi Arabia General Entertainment Authority Chairman Turki Alalshikh set his sights on bettering their partnership with WWE.

Alalshikh told ESPN that an “enhancement” to the deal between Saudi Arabia and WWE will be signed in June, although no details were disclosed about what that would mean.

He mentioned his hopes to lure one of WWE’s top annual events to the country, specifically mentioning the Royal Rumble or Wrestlemania.

“We will do big things with the UFC and TKO,” he told ESPN.

The agreement that UFC signed this week involves more events and sponsorships. Along with the already-announced June 22 Fight Night card in the country, UFC is expected to host another show later this year or in early 2025. The event will take place during “Riyadh Season,” a multi-month tourism push by the country that includes sports and music events.

Saudi Arabia also agreed to sign on as a sponsor for UFC 306 in Las Vegas later this year and to host a Power Slap event.

WWE currently has a deal with Saudi Arabia to hold two “large-scale events” in the country every year. The agreement is expected to run through 2027, although that could potentially change following the teased update to the deal.

The promotion’s next trip to the country will be happening later this month when King & Queen of the Ring takes place on May 25 in Jeddah.

Partnerships with Saudi Arabia have been criticized as “sportswashing,” a term that alleges a country hosts sporting events in an attempt to better its image and move away from a more troubled reputation.

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Jack Wannan is a journalist from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He writes and reports on professional wrestling, along with other topics like MMA, boxing, music, local news, and more. He graduated from Toronto Metropolitan University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. He can be reached at [email protected]