Action Sports, Pecker & The Saudis

by The Editors on February 8, 2019


As if this whole TEN sale couldn’t get any stranger, a deeper dive into the backstory reveals a The New York Times story from March 2018 that hints at where the money used by American Media to purchase the TEN action sports properties (among other things) may have come from. . . Saudi Arabia.

The intersection of the tabloid publisher [David Pecker, pictured right with The Donald] with the Saudis, enhanced by the White House visit, is a previously untold chapter in the long, symbiotic relationship between the president and Mr. Pecker, which was forged in the 1990s. At the time, Mr. Trump was celebrating a real estate comeback after his casino bankruptcies and was both the subject and the source of much gossip in New York.

One action sports executive wonders if this all might be part of a plan to use actions sports as a way to improve the public’s perceptions of a county that, in addition to various human rights violations, has allegedly murdered at least one journalist:

Sports have been an increasingly viable way for despots to soften their image and market a national brand (Russia/Sochi; Qatar/World Cup; Saudi Arabia/PGA events). . .Doesn’t seem a crazy reach that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, et al. would have interest in creating action/participant sports events, promoting tourism, etc. And these would be cheap and effective markets for this purpose. . . It all does line up: money gets laundered, Pecker gets ass saved, Saudi’s get backdoor to Trump administration, and a bunch of cheap sports/travel media properties run influence campaigns.

Is this really why American Media had interest in a few small circ. action sporting brands? Click the link to read the rest of the story.

[Link: The New York Times]

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