Sports

The Sports Boulevard is reinventing and regenerating Riyadh

Significant transformation is underway across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia due to the ambitious Vision 2030 and Quality of Life program, which will diversify the economy and make Riyadh one of the world’s top-10 cities.

To help achieve this ambition, the Sports Boulevard Foundation—one of Riyadh’s mega projects—was launched by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz in March 2019, and supported by HRH Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.

The Sports Boulevard is an innovative and sustainable urban regeneration project that will transform the lives of the people of Riyadh. It is taking a former pylon-dominated utility corridor and transforming it into a green oasis that will connect the city from west to east through a grid of safe, green pathways for pedestrians, cyclists, athletes, and horse-riders.

The Sports Boulevard will be the world’s largest urban linear park, extending more than 135km and offering over 50 sports facilities, 220km of cycling routes, 135km of walking and running trails, and 134km of equestrian trails for residents and visitors to use. This new urban park will include over 4.4 million sqm of greenery and open spaces, increasing the per capita share of green space for Riyadh’s residents by 62% and creating cleaner air by reducing carbon dioxide levels across the city by 100 tons.

Developing a state-of-the-art, future proofed city

The development will span eight distinct districts and deliver iconic destinations and architectural highlights for Riyadh—including a state-of-the-art amphitheater, performance spaces, and artist exhibition areas, as well as designated investment zones for commercial opportunities including retail and real estate, among others. There will also be a range of outdoor spaces that can be used year-round for people to socialize with family, friends, and colleagues.

Significant progress is being made in the construction of the Sports Boulevard and there will be a range of phased openings between 2024 and 2029. The first publicly accessible elements of the development—The Cycling Bridge and Promenade—will be completed early next year. This will be followed by the creation of a Global Sports Tower, which will offer residents the chance to participate in a wide array of sports including cycling, running, hiking, skateboarding, sand volleyball, and horse riding. Other exciting developments include the Sand Sports Park and the first phase of the internal loop cycling path at Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University.

The Sports Boulevard will be walking distance from 16% of Riyadh’s population and will have direct links to three major metro stations so that people can access its world-class state-of-the-art facilities without driving anywhere. This will see a 60% reduction in the time needed to travel between districts.

Every element of the planning and execution process of the Sports Boulevard has been conducted in line with the Sports Boulevard’s “Design Code” (announced in 2022), which is driven by the principles of Salmani architecture. The Design Code is central to the Sports Boulevard Foundation’s efforts to ensure that Riyadh is designed to the highest standard and becomes known as one of the greatest cities in the world.

By utilizing technology combined with the latest urban planning techniques, the Sports Boulevard will transform Riyadh into a smart city that responds to the needs of its residents, both now and in the future.

Investing in Riyadh’s regeneration

Since its establishment, the Sports Boulevard Foundation has awarded contracts to several Saudi national firms for the construction of roads, bridges, and infrastructure at the Hanifah Valley, Promenade, and the Art District as part of the first phase of the project.

Part of the Sports Boulevard’s masterplan is to engage with the private sector to offer more than 2.3 million square meters of designated development opportunities, as well as unique districts and investment zones for retail and real estate, among others.

In December 2023, the Sports Boulevard entered a strategic partnership with Ajdan Real Estate Development and Al Bilad Investment Company to enable the introduction of world-class facilities in the Art District and offer a range of residential, retail, office, and food and beverage spaces. As the project progresses, further investment and partnership opportunities will become available.

The Sports Boulevard will become central to the everyday lives of Riyadh’s residents, offer a world-renowned destination for visitors, and herald a new era for sports and wellbeing in the region.

As Saudi Arabia cements its reputation as a key destination for tourism and international sporting competitions, the advancements of the Sports Boulevard will have significant societal and economic benefit through the creation of jobs, businesses, and heightened economic activity—boosting tourism and Riyadh’s global stature as one of the world’s most livable cities.