Next Gen ATP Finals head to Jeddah

Featured image credit: Mario Gogh on Unsplash

Saudi Arabia has added to its sports events portfolio after Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City was announced as the host venue for tennis’ Next Gen ATP Finals for the next five years.

This year’s event will mark the first official professional tennis tournament to take place in Saudi Arabia. Jeddah’s bid was led by the Saudi Tennis Federation (STF), and the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) said that the event will tie in with the STF’s commitment to raising awareness of and fostering interest in tennis among young people.

This year’s tournament will take place from November 28 to December 2 on an indoor hard court. It will feature a record prize money of $2m (£1.6m/€1.8m).

The Next Gen ATP Finals are contested by the best men’s tennis players aged 21 and under. The Italian city of Milan has hosted each edition of the event since its inception in 2017.

The ATP launched a bid process to secure a new host for the event back in March, with the support of Deloitte’s Sport Business Group. The process evaluated host cities from multiple regions, with criteria including venue, international connectivity, and the potential to grow tennis in a new market.

The King Abdullah Sports City complex features a 62,000-capacity football stadium and several other smaller indoor venues.

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said: “The ATP Tour is truly global and exploring new markets is central to growing the game. Bringing the Next Gen ATP Finals to Jeddah is our chance to inspire new fans, in a region with a vast young population, and unite audiences around tennis. Our congratulations go to Jeddah and the Saudi Tennis Federation. We look forward to building on the event’s incredible success together.”

STF president Arij Mutabagani added: “We are extremely proud that ATP has selected Jeddah to host such an important tennis event. The Next Gen ATP Finals embodies the philosophy of our federation, which is to inspire young talent to reach the sport’s highest levels. We’re excited to collaborate to promote the ATP Tour’s most promising rising stars, and showcase new sporting innovations, in our special city of Jeddah.”

Saudi Arabia has pursued an aggressive sports investment strategy in recent years. Its sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), acquired Premier League club Newcastle United in 2021 and launched the LIV Golf series last year.

On the events front, Saudi Arabia staged its first Formula 1 race in 2021, while Jeddah will host football’s Club World Cup in December. The country will also stage the Asian Cup in 2027.

Saudi Arabia has said the investment strategy ties in with its Vision 2030 plan, which aspires to turn the country into a major sports, entertainment and tourism hub and reduce its reliance on the oil sector as a source of income.