SRJ boss Townsend go-to-town sports strategy



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New CEO for SRJ Sports Investments Image: SRJ Sports Investments

The SRJ Sports Investments (SRJ), the emerging leader of sports investments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, recently announced the appointment of Danny Townsend as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

‘SRJ’ stated that Danny Townsend brings 26 years of experience in the sporting sector, with a proven track record in building successful global businesses in the sport and entertainment sector. In his new position, Townsend will use his extensive industry experience to lead SRJ’s strategic direction, playing an important role in driving the organization’s growth in the local and global sports investment sector. He joins from the Australian Professional Leagues (APL).

Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)-based SRJ (/Surge/) Sports Investments, fully owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is a leading sports investor championed by Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and the National Sports Strategy. The SRJ Sports Investments is delivering on Saudi Arabia’s promise to develop a world-class sports sector. The SRJ Sports Investments focuses on driving sustainable investment across technology, media, programing, IP rights, and commercialization of venues – serving the sports sector in Saudi Arabia and across the MENA region.

Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)-based the Public Investment Fund (PIF) is the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. It is among the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world with total estimated assets of US$776 billion. It was created in 1971 for the purpose of investing funds on behalf of the Government of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 is about creating a vibrant society in which all citizens can thrive and pursue their passions. A strong social infrastructure is underpinned by a society that values cultural traditions, national pride and modern amenities all while embodying the spirit of modern Islam and providing effective social services.

New South Wales-based the Australian Professional Leagues, commonly abbreviated as APL, and sometimes referred to as the A-Leagues, is the governing body for the main soccer leagues in Australia and New Zealand. Since their formation, they have been mostly independent of Football Australia, but remain under their umbrella.

Football Australia is the governing body of soccer, futsal and beach soccer within Australia, headquartered in Sydney. Although the first governing body of the sport was founded in 1911, Football Australia in its current form was only established in 1961 as the Australian Soccer Federation.

Said Bander Bin Mogren, Chairman of SRJ, “We are delighted to welcome Danny as the CEO at SRJ Sports Investments. His impressive achievements in the global sports industry position him as a strong leader. Danny will help drive SRJ’s ambitions to deliver long-term impact through strategic, sustainable investments. The Board of Directors is confident in Danny’s leadership and strategic vision for the organization, and we look forward to achieving great success together.”

Stated Danny Townsend, Incoming CEO at SRJ, “I welcome the opportunity to build on the strong foundations of SRJ, as we pursue exciting avenues to drive fan engagement, encourage greater sports participation and unlock game-changing opportunities in the region and beyond. Saudi Arabia’s sports sector is growing at pace. I’m looking forward to being part of an ambitious team focused on creating new experiences that can be enjoyed at home and away, delivering value to all the stakeholders.”

‘SRJ’ further stated that the SRJ was launched in August 2023 by the Public Investment Fund to accelerate the growth of the sports sector in Saudi Arabia and the MENA region. It most recently signed an investment agreement with the Professional Fighters League (PFL) to acquire a minority equity stake in the PFL and launch the PFL MENA, a new regional league, to nurture the local and regional talent pool in martial arts and promote gender equality in sport.

McLean (US)-based the Professional Fighters League is an American mixed martial arts (MMA) league founded by the venture capitalist Donn Davis in 2017 and launched in 2018, following the acquisition and restructuring of the former World Series of Fighting promotion in 2017 by the MMAX Investment Partners (a holding company created by Russ Ramsey).

The mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport based on striking, grappling and ground fighting, incorporating techniques from various combat sports from around the world.

The Professional Fighters League (PFL) is set to launch PFL Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in 2024, with plans to host fights in Qatar and across the region.

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