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Curious about the pulse of Saudi Arabia?

It’s not just in its oil or rich culture!

While soccer dominates the Saudi sports scene, many other activities excite the population.

Wondering what else captures the Saudi spirit?

Discover the most popular sports in Saudi Arabia in our list.

Most Popular Sports in Saudi Arabia:

  1. Soccer
  2. Basketball
  3. Cricket
  4. Camel Racing
  5. Horse Racing
  6. Boxing
  7. Table Tennis
  8. Tennis
  9. Swimming
  10. Wrestling
  11. Athletics

#1 Soccer

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Saudi Arabia: 1950s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Saudi Arabia: Sami Al-Jaber (Saudi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Saudi Arabia: 600,000

Soccer holds a special place in Saudi Arabia’s heart, capturing the nation’s attention with its thrilling matches and passionate fans. The Saudi Pro League is the country’s top soccer league, featuring fierce competition and a loyal following.

Sami Al-Jaber, a Saudi legend in the soccer realm, is celebrated for his incredible scoring prowess and World Cup appearances. Saudi Arabia’s unforgettable soccer moments include the team’s remarkable run in the 1994 World Cup, where they reached the round of 16.

With its cultural significance and unrivaled popularity, soccer stands tall in the Saudi sports scene.

#2 Basketball

Basketball
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Saudi Arabia: 1960s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Saudi Arabia: Mohammed Al-Marwani (Saudi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Saudi Arabia: 150,000

Basketball has found a receptive audience in Saudi Arabia, rapidly growing in popularity and attracting a younger generation of fans. The Saudi Basketball League (SBL) showcases local talent and competitive teams, drawing significant attention throughout the country.

Mohammed Al-Marwani, a highly skilled player in the Saudi basketball scene, represents the nation’s passion for the sport. Saudi Arabia often participates in regional basketball competitions, such as the GCC and Arab Championships, further igniting excitement among fans.

The sport continues to rise in popularity and prominence within the nation, solidifying basketball as a key attraction in Saudi Arabia’s sporting landscape.

#3 Cricket

Cricket
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Saudi Arabia: 1970s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Saudi Arabia: Shoaib Ali (Saudi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Saudi Arabia: 50,000

Cricket has gained a significant following in Saudi Arabia, especially among the growing expatriate population. The sport is primarily played at the club level, with numerous local leagues and tournaments helping to cultivate talent.

Shoaib Ali, the talented all-rounder, has become a key figure in Saudi cricket and represents the nation at international competitions. Saudi Arabian cricket teams regularly participate in regional and international tournaments, such as the ACC Western Region T20 and the Arabian Cricket Carnival.

As cricket’s popularity continues to grow, Saudi Arabia is increasingly establishing itself as an emerging force in the sport.

#4 Camel Racing

Camel Racing
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Saudi Arabia: Ancient Times
  • 🌟 Most Famous Camel Racer from Saudi Arabia: Sultan Al-Shahri (Saudi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Camel Racers in Saudi Arabia: 15,000

Camel racing holds deep roots in Saudi Arabian culture, cherished as both a sport and historical tradition. Numerous camel racing events take place throughout the year, often drawing large crowds and significant media coverage.

Sultan Al-Shahri, an acclaimed camel racer in the region, has earned respect and recognition for his numerous victories. Races like the annual King Abdulaziz Camel Festival showcase the best camels and jockeys, celebrating the sport’s cultural value in Saudi society.

As the sport evolves, using modern technology and improved training methods, camel racing’s significance in Saudi Arabia’s culture and tradition remains unshakable.

#5 Horse Racing

Horse racing
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Saudi Arabia: 1960s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Jockey from Saudi Arabia: Adel Alfouraidi (Saudi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Jockeys in Saudi Arabia: 2,000

Horse racing is a popular sport in Saudi Arabia, with its roots dating back centuries. In recent years, the sport has experienced a rise in prominence, attracting both local and international attention.

Saudi Arabia hosts prestigious events like the Saudi Cup, the world’s most valuable horse race, drawing top riders from around the globe. Adel Alfouraidi, a renowned Saudi jockey, has made a name for himself in the racing circuit, earning respect and recognition.

Horse racing showcases Saudi Arabia’s love for equestrian sports and strengthens its standing in the global racing community, preserving its cultural and historical relevance.

#6 Boxing

Boxing
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Saudi Arabia: 1970s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Boxer from Saudi Arabia: Zuhayr Al-Qahtani (Saudi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Boxers in Saudi Arabia: 10,000

Boxing has steadily gained a devoted following in Saudi Arabia, as the nation embraces the sport’s display of strength, skill, and stamina. A rising number of local gyms and training centers are promoting boxing, fostering a new generation of athletes.

Zuhayr Al-Qahtani, a talented Saudi boxer, has made waves in the boxing world and serves as a role model for aspiring fighters. Moreover, Saudi Arabia has successfully hosted significant international boxing events, such as the highly anticipated rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr.

With an increasing passion for boxing, Saudi Arabia continues to cement its status as an emerging force in the sport.

#7 Table Tennis

Table Tennis
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Saudi Arabia: 1970s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Saudi Arabia: Ali Al-Khadrawi (Saudi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Saudi Arabia: 40,000

Table tennis enjoys a dedicated following in Saudi Arabia, with numerous clubs and facilities supporting the sport’s growth. The fast-paced action, coupled with the game’s strategic elements, has attracted a wide range of players and fans.

Ali Al-Khadrawi, an accomplished Saudi table tennis player, has represented the nation in numerous international competitions, earning recognition and praise. Saudi Arabia regularly participates in regional tournaments, like the Arab Table Tennis Championships, further enhancing the sport’s visibility and appeal.

As the interest in table tennis continues to surge, Saudi Arabia’s commitment to the sport remains strong and steadfast.

#8 Tennis

Tennis
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Saudi Arabia: 1980s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Saudi Arabia: Fahmi Al Kadi (Saudi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Saudi Arabia: 50,000

Tennis has experienced a rise in popularity within Saudi Arabia, drawing on the region’s enthusiasm for competitive sports. The country boasts several tennis clubs and academies that nurture local talent.

Fahmi Al Kadi, a well-regarded Saudi tennis player, has competed in various international events, showcasing the nation’s potential in the sport. In recent years, Saudi Arabia has hosted high-profile exhibition tennis matches and tournaments, attracting global stars and further solidifying the country’s love for the game.

With a growing community of tennis enthusiasts, the sport’s presence in Saudi Arabia continues to flourish, contributing to its diverse sporting landscape.

#9 Swimming

swimming
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Saudi Arabia: 1970s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Swimmer from Saudi Arabia: Azad Al-Barazi (Saudi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Swimmers in Saudi Arabia: 100,000

Swimming has been steadily growing in popularity within Saudi Arabia, thanks to its numerous physical and mental health benefits. Swimming clubs, pools, and facilities have seen a rise in demand, further nurturing the sport at the grassroots level.

Azad Al-Barazi, the country’s top swimmer, has brought recognition to Saudi Arabian swimming by competing in international events, including the Olympics. Furthermore, development initiatives promoting swimming have sparked interest in the sport for both leisure and competition.

As more Saudis take up swimming, this water sport’s presence in Saudi Arabia will undoubtedly continue to make a splash.

#10 Wrestling

Wrestling
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Saudi Arabia: 1980s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Wrestler from Saudi Arabia: Mansoor Al-Shehail (Saudi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Wrestlers in Saudi Arabia: 5,000

Wrestling is a sport that is gaining traction in Saudi Arabia, attracting fans and athletes alike due to its combination of strength, technique, and entertainment value. As the wrestling scene flourishes, more people are embracing the sport at both amateur and professional levels.

Mansoor Al-Shehail, a talented wrestler and WWE’s first Saudi-born signee, is a pioneer for Saudi Arabia’s growing wrestling scene. In recent years, the country has hosted major WWE events like the Crown Jewel and Super ShowDown, bringing international attention and excitement to wrestling within Saudi Arabia.

With a rising fan base and talented wrestlers emerging, the sport’s impact in Saudi Arabia is set to grow even stronger.

#11 Athletics

Trail Running
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Saudi Arabia: 1940s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Athlete from Saudi Arabia: Hadi Soua’an Al Somaily (Saudi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Athletics Enthusiasts in Saudi Arabia: 150,000

Athletics is a crucial part of Saudi Arabia’s sporting tradition, with a focus on developing and supporting talented athletes to represent the nation on international platforms. From track and field events to marathons, athletics captures the excitement of fans and aspiring athletes alike.

Saudi Arabian athlete Hadi Soua’an Al Somaily has made a name for himself with his Olympic silver medal in the 400m hurdles at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The country regularly participates in regional and international athletics competitions, further promoting the sport within Saudi Arabia.

With a commitment to excellence, infrastructure, and nurturing talent, the athletics scene in Saudi Arabia shows immense promise, producing champions who can excel on the global stage.

FAQ

What is the most popular sport in Saudi Arabia?

Soccer takes the lead as the most popular sport in Saudi Arabia, with deep cultural roots and a massive following, plus millions of fans passionately supporting local and national teams.

What is the national sport of Saudi Arabia?

Soccer, also known as football, holds the title as the national sport of Saudi Arabia, enjoying widespread popularity and a special significance in the country’s culture and sporting traditions.

What are the most watched sports in Saudi Arabia?

The most watched sports in Saudi Arabia include soccer, basketball, cricket, camel racing, horse racing, boxing, athletics, table tennis, tennis, swimming, and wrestling, each attracting substantial viewership and fan base throughout the country.

I'm a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. I run stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton, took part in the German Mini Golf Championships, started learning 'real' Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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