Buy low, sell high!
And you might have missed the wonderful news this morning, but it appears that New Zealand has defeated the novel Coronavirus, finally bringing an end to such a wild, unprecedented era in human history. The entire globe shuttered, surfing outlawed, surfers becoming Enemies of the State no.1, social distancing laws ruthlessly enforced, facial masks now de rigueur all to slow a Chinese crafted disease that brutally targeted the obese, diabetics and those with underlying heart conditions.
Well, leave it to Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, the most popular leader to ever lead, to beat the dang thing but now that the war is over a scorched economic earth is left behind. Business out of, restaurants saddled with debt, movie theaters catching on fire, mysteriously, families huddled together unable to afford, or find, chow mien.
The World Surf League.
And how will professional surfing’s home even begin to rise out of these ashes? Things were not… let’s say “super bright” before the collapse. A revolving door into the CEO’s office, shifting raison d’être, sponsors not renewing, suspect viewership numbers, missing Ambassador of Stoke and Leisure, wave pool technology that has been superseded by others suggested the business was not… let’s say “viable.”
Will co-Waterperson of the Year and billionaire owner Dirk Ziff continue to hemorrhage? Who else could possibly interest in his… let’s say “distressed asset?”
Unfortunately she is busy consolidating power for a well-timed run at Master of the Universe but what about Saudi Arabia’s plucky Prince Mohammed bin Salman?
It was reported today that his sovereign wealth fund has just purchased a 5.7 percent stake in Live Nation, the “people standing within six feet of each other at concerts, sporting events etc.” company that has been devastated by the Chinese Flu and all of our social distancing.
The investment in Live Nation is the second by the Saudi government this month in an industry hit hard by the pandemic. The Saudi Public Investment Fund also took a $775 million stake in Carnival Cruises.
Saudi Arabia has been trying to bolster its tourism industry before the pandemic upended international travel, and live events and concerts had been a big part of that strategy. Last October the K-pop superstars BTS became the first foreign band to perform a solo stadium show in the country.
Meanwhile, in Hollywood, many firms have been reluctant to take investment from the fund following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Endeavor returned a $400 million investment it received from the fund last year. Many notable names from the world of media and entertainment also canceled an appearance at a major conference to be hosted in Riyadh called the Future Investment Initiative.
Live events and cruise ships, eh?
You see what I’m seeing?
Sure, the kingdom is currently fighting a proxy war against its United Arab Emirates neighbor in southern Yemen but adding professional surfing into the portfolio, bringing Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch to Riyadh, Jeddah… even Mecca or at least Medina, having Joe Turpel, Ron Blakey and the 1989 World Champion Martin Potter broadcast events live from the Abraj al Bait mall?
What would the price tag be for the World Surf League to build its patented and unassailable Wall of Positive Noise around a handful of murders here and there?
More as the story develops.