A new global sporting event

The Saudi Cup is the world’s most valuable horse race – the inaugural running was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in February 2020. In global horseracing terms, the race is a hugely exciting new addition to the international calendar, allowing horses to participate in top level races at a time of year which is usually ‘off season’.

I was appointed Project Manager for the Arabic social channels and lead a team of up to 10 people, including videographers, graphic designers, Social Media Influencer manager, translator and social publisher/community manager.

We were tasked with raising awareness of the new horse race locally and internationally, to educate locals about horseracing, grow following and increase engagement through social output.

Our aim was to engage with and excite GCC nationals and Arabs around the world about this historic sporting event, in a country that has just opened up to tourists a few short months ago. The Saudi Cup is part of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 strategy and vision for the country.

We began by researching our potential target audience locally and globally to gauge the level of interest and knowledge of horseracing, intent to attend a new social sporting event and how these segmented audiences consume and engage with digital content. The data drawn from our research enabled us to create our overall strategy and content plan.

The results were fantastic, attaining reach and engagement over 30 million on all channels and 4.1 million video views with a high positive sentiment (91%), during a five-month campaign.

At the end of the campaign, the Saudi Cup Arabic social channels had overtaken World Horse Racing in terms of video videos (4.1m vs 3.2m) and followers (23k vs 15k) at the same stage after their initial launch. To put that into context, World Horse Racing is the most-viewed horseracing social channels globally with over 275 million views to date.

Additionally, the Saudi Cup Arabic socials outperformed the Pegasus World Cup (FL, USA) and Dubai Racing Club (Dubai, UAE) during their peak event period performance.

  • Gillian Byrne

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