Cristiano Ronaldo-Led Saudi Pro League Struggling To Attract Fans To Multi-Million Dollar Stadiums

Al Nassr Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo Is The Ambassador Of The Saudi Pro League
Al Nassr Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo Is The Ambassador Of The Saudi Pro League

In January, Al-Nassr shook the world by signing Real Madrid, Portugal, and Manchester United icon Cristiano Ronaldo. Since the 38-year-old’s switch to Saudi Arabia, many top European players have moved to the desert, including Karim Benzema, Neymar, N’Golo Kante, and Riyad Mahrez. Interestingly, most of these top European talents have gone to the four PIF-backed clubs: Al Nassr, Al Hilal, Al Ittihad, and Al Ahli, meaning clubs that do not belong to the highest echelon of Saudi soccer have not benefitted from the supposed revolution the league’s been undergoing.

Over 40 Saudi Pro League Matches Have Had Fewer Than 1000 People In The Stands

The attendance of matches not featuring the aforementioned clubs has been alarmingly low in the 2023-24 season. According to the data from SportBible, the Saudi Pro League game between Al Wehda and Al Okhdood on December 9 saw an attendance of just 575 people. The game was held at the £450 million ($567.85 million) King Abdulaziz Sports City Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 62,000 people. Furthermore, over 40 Saudi Pro League matches have had less than 1000 people this season, with some games drawing even fewer than 200.

In contrast, a record 1842 people attended Chasetown’s 3-2 win over Witton Albion in the Northern Premier League Division One West, which is the eighth tier of English soccer, on December 2. Likewise, many matches in the seventh division of English soccer pulled over 1000 fans last weekend.

Cristiano Ronaldo Believes Saudi Pro League Will Continue To Get Better

Al-Nassr superstar and the league’s ambassador, Ronaldo, however, is seemingly unaffected by the numbers. The Portuguese superstar believes the league is growing and will only get better in the coming years. In an interview, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner said:

We are much better and the Saudi league is getting better and the next year will be even better. Step-by-step I think this league will be among the top five leagues in the world but they need time, players and infrastructure.

But I believe that this country have amazing potential, they have amazing people and the league will be great in my opinion.

Saudi Pro League could add a few more top players to their ranks next summer, including Liverpool ace Mohamed Salah. As per reports, Al-Ittihad are eager to bring the Egyptian to Saudi and could table a world record bid to make it happen.

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