Al-Hilal Saudi Football Club (Arabic: نادي الهلال; The Crescent), also known simply as Al-Hilal, is a Saudi Arabian professional football team based in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh. It plays at the Saudi Premier League and holds 51 official titles. Founded in 1957, it has obtained a record of 40 domestic titles as well as a record 6 trophies in various Asian championships, and a record 7 Arab championships.
Al-Hilal Club was originally known as the Olympic Club during its founding by Abdul Rahman Bin Saeed on 16 October 1957 in Riyadh. The club's name lasted for only one year before it was changed to its current name on 3 December 1958 by King Saud Bin Abdul-Aziz. He changed the name after he attended a tournament that was contested between the Olympic Club, Al-Shabab, Al-Riyadh and El-Kawkab clubs. As soon as the club's establishment, Al-Hilal enjoyed not only grassroots support but also royal attention.
After spending their formative years building a squad, the club made their first mark by lifting the King's Cup trophy in 1961. That began a period in which the club won 50 official competitions. Al-Hilal recaptured the King's Cup in 1964, with a penalty shootout victory over two-time Asian champions Al-Ittihad. The club were the inaugural winners when the Saudi Premier League came into existence in the 1976–77 season. Al-Hilal won the title another ten times and finished runners-up on 11 occasions in the space of 32 years. Al-Hilal also have six King's Cup, eight Crown Prince Cup and seven Saudi Federation Cup titles.
With the success, a number of players and coaches from outside Saudi Arabia joined the club in the 1970s, including Brazilians Mario Zagallo and Roberto Rivelino.
Al Hilal-reached the final of the AFC Champions League in 2014, where they faced Western Sydney Wanderers. The Australian club won 1–0 on aggregate. In the second leg, held at the King Fahd Stadium, only 14 Western Sydney Wanderers fans were provided with travel visas, for a match in which there was 65,000 Al-Hilal spectators present. During the match, laser pointers were shone into the eyes of Western Sydney players and a fight broke out between the two teams.
Al-Hilal has long-standing rival with Al-Ittihad. From the start of national competition the clubs were seen as representatives of two rival cities: Riyadh and Jeddah. After the success of Al Hilal in Asia when they won two AFC Champions League in years 1991 and 1999, Al Ittihad has won it for two times in a row, in 2004 and 2005.
Al-Hilal won the clasico for 59 times, while Al-Ittihad won it 50 times and two sides drew 34 times. The biggest win is for Al-Hilal when they defeated Al-Ittihad 5–0 in 2009–10 season.
Mobily is the main sponsor of Al-Hilal, and as part of the sponsorship deal, their logo is displayed on the front of the club's shirts and a plethora of other merchandise. The Mobily deal was announced by the club's President Abdulrahman bin Musa'ad on 14 October 2008, and is worth a Saudi record SAR 517 million, to be paid over six years (SAR 69.1 million per year).
If the team wins any trophy, they will get SAR 3 million for each one (USD 800,000). Al-Hilal will get 60% of any other sponsor that want to sponsor the team, with Mobily's agreement, 20% of football match tickets sold, 50% of Mobily Al-Hilal txt message service profit. Al-Hilal will get SAR 10 million if the number of subscribers in Mobily's Al-Hilal service reaches 200,000 and another 10 million if they reach 400,000 subscribers. Al-Hilal will get 10% of each mobile package sold under the Al-Hilal name (such as blue wave package) and 40% of the club membership fees. The minimum net income from Mobily deal is SAR 75 million per year (USD 20 million/year).
Like most professional teams all over the world, Al-Hilal and Mobily have introduced a membership card (Hilali) for fans to connect with their club. Fans are now able to join the Hilal membership scheme for the clubs starting 2012–13 season onwards. Hilali membership benefits includes VIP tickets to all Al-Hilal home and away matches, using the club facilities, meeting with players monthly and discounts at Al-Hilal Mobily stores.
Al-Hilal has a chain of luxury retail stores that sell the club's products. The first branch opened on 1 February 2011 on the most expensive commercial street in Riyadh at a cost of SAR 15 million (USD 4 million). It was the first store from any Saudi club, and the biggest club store in the Middle East. In the first week of opening, sales surpassed SAR 1 million (USD 266,000). Mobily plans to cover the kingdom's main cities with seven branches by the end of 2012. Khobar's branch has opened on 5 January 2012, which Jeddah branch opened on 5 April 2012. The stores offer thousands of high quality products including clothes, accessories, children toys and many other products.
The stores' profits currently go to Mobily only. After the investment cost is covered they will share the profit with the club.
Al-Hilal receives SR 4.5 million per year (USD 1.2 million/year) from the Saudi Arabia Football Federation as the federation sell the complete matches' right in one package and all the clubs in the Saudi Professional League share the revenue equally. The income may increase dramatically in near future as clubs will have the rights to sell their own matches' broadcasting rights.
The club's president and other board members pay any extra money required to run the club as the total expenses of the club in recent seasons surpassed SR 140 million (USD 38 million). This increase in expenses is due to the high level foreign and national players the club signed with such as Thiago Neves, Mirel Rădoi, Christian Wilhelmsson, Osama Hawsawi, Youssef El-Arabi and others.
Special seats have been allocated for the disabled to watch the training. Twenty-five percent of the income of tickets sold goes to charities. Players and board members arrange and attend social activities for charities during Eid and other holidays.
In 2009, the club opened a new camp in Riyadh. It contains 25 rooms, meeting rooms, smart room for lectures, library, eating room, living rooms, a big salon and a medical clinic. It also has entertainment corners for video games, table tennis, billiards, table football and many others. There are two training fields for the senior team.