A football Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Saudi Arabia already shocked the sports world with its successful investment in LIV Golf.

Now, imagine a Saudi-backed football league using billions in petrodollars to lure NFL stars — and fans.

If that sounds farfetched, well, so did the thought of upstart LIV Golf taking on the established PGA Tour and ultimately forcing a merger earlier this year.

And Saudi Arabia now wants to do the same thing with other sports. According to the Financial Times, the Saudis are launching a multi-billion dollar investment company to invest in other sports. According to the report, the kingdom will have a “war chest to fund its expansion” and Saudi leaders are “committed to making further acquisitions, investments and joint ventures in football, tennis and other sports.

So what could that look like in the U.S.? Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio mentioned one possible scenario.

“Would Saudi Arabia try to buy its way into the NFL directly … or would the plan be to create a competing league and to buy up NFL players?” Florio wrote Wednesday.

“The NFL should be prepared for the latter. … And that would be something. An all-out bidding war for players from a league that competes with the NFL during football season. The NFL hasn’t seen that since the AFL, which eventually forced a merger.”

Critics decry the Saudi’s investments such as LIV Golf as “sportswashing,” a bid to generate goodwill despite the country’s history of human rights abuses. But the bottom line is the Saudis have billions in petrodollars at their disposal, and money has always talked in sports.

[Financial Times; Pro Football Talk]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.