On the latest episode of La Previa, Sportico’s new Spanish language podcast, hosts Asli Pelit and Boris Gartner analyze some of the top sports business stories of the week, including Saudi Arabia’s interest in hosting the 2030 centennial World Cup. Joining Pelit and Gartner this week is sports journalist Grant Wahl, dialing in from Qatar to talk about his experience covering his eighth World Cup.
Saudi Arabia’s growing interest in becoming a significant player in global soccer. In 2021, the country’s public investment fund (PIF), which manages about $600 billion in assets, acquired English Premier League’s Newcastle. The Saudi squad did not advance from this year’s World Cup group stage but their surprising 1-0 win over Argentina has validated the country’s commitment to the sport. The kingdom aims to present a bid to host the tournament with Egypt and Greece—the first World Cup to be hosted across three continents—and it has promised to build stadiums in both of those countries.
Wahl talked about his experience in Qatar so far and said that, despite a few issues, Qatar has been a good host. Wahl also discussed the USMNT’s success in Qatar and what this means for soccer in the United States. He said the 1994 World Cup paved the way for Major League Soccer (MLS) and that the U.S. hosting the next one will help the sport’s popularity grow throughout the country.