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WWE strengthens Saudi ties with hire of OSN’s Al-Mashhadi

World Wrestling Entertainment has named Bandar Al-Mashhadi as its new vice-president and general manager in the Middle East and North Africa region, replacing the incumbent Carlo Nohra.

Al Mashhadi joins WWE having previously held the role of managing director in Saudi Arabia at pay-television broadcaster OSN, which held WWE media rights in the Mena region prior to it culling its sports channels last year.

He is also the first Saudi Arabian to take the post of Mena vice-president and general manager.

SportBusiness understands that Nohra will not be leaving WWE, but will be moving to a new role within the business which will be announced in due course.

Nohra was in the Mena role for more than six years after joining the business in 2014.

Al-Mashhadi’s remit will cover all aspects of the WWE’s Mena business, including media rights, sponsorship and marketing among other responsibilities. He will also be tasked with heading up WWE’s partnership with the Saudi General Entertainment Authority.

WWE has been steadily strengthening its ties to Saudi Arabia in recent years through a variety of initiatives.

Among these is a hosting agreement until 2027 which will see two WWE events take place in the Kingdom annually. Events in 2018 and 2019 had already been held in Saudi Arabia, though this agreement expanded on the original arrangement.

The Mena business had been the subject of some scrutiny late in 2019 due to the lack of a broadcast deal in the region. This prompted a fall in its share price and raised questions from investors about its profile in the region.