In a momentous announcement at the New Global Sport Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Esports Federation and Saudi Ministry of Sport unveiled their grand vision for the esports landscape, showcasing their intent to draw global audiences and international competitions to the region.
High-profile executives and representatives from major players in the esports industry, including Moonton Games, G2 Esports, ESL FACEIT Group, Take-Two Interactive, and many others, gathered at this prestigious event, underscoring its significance.
The highlight of the conference was the appearance of HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, widely known as HRH Crown Prince MBS, who took the stage to reveal the much-anticipated Esports World Cup. This grand multi-title competition, slated for 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, promises to become an annual esports spectacle. While specific game titles and publisher partnerships remain shrouded in mystery, it is set to succeed the celebrated Gamers8 event. Gamers8 boasted an impressive prize pool exceeding $45 million USD this year.
Crown Prince MBS emphasized that the “Esports World Cup” represents the natural evolution of Saudi Arabia’s journey to become the leading global hub for gaming and esports. It offers a groundbreaking esports experience pushing the boundaries of the industry, aligning with Vision 2030 objectives aimed at economic diversification, tourism growth, job creation, and world-class entertainment for all.
In an exciting development, the Esports World Cup Foundation, described as a non-profit organization, was unveiled, with the mission of fostering collaboration among esports stakeholders and contributing to the sustainability of the global esports ecosystem. Specific details about the foundation remain forthcoming, but sources suggest that ESL FACEIT Chairman Ralf Reichert will play a crucial role in this new non-profit, reporting directly to HRH Prince Faisal.
Another noteworthy revelation was the acquisition of the Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC) by the Esports World Cup Foundation, under the leadership of Ralf Reichert. The ESWC, a renowned international professional gaming championship founded in 2003 by French company Ligarena, has hosted multiple international competitions across various titles. Although the organization has been mostly inactive since its last competition, the ESWC Africa 2018.
Speculations persist about possible announcements involving the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Esports Federation, but these claims remain unverified as of the latest update.
While team leaders attending the event have expressed their commitment to participating in this annual competition, at least one executive from an organization, who chose to remain anonymous, denied making any such commitments to the Esports World Cup in 2024. Guild Esports, in contrast, publicly acknowledged its participation in the Esports World Cup via a social media post.
Although not explicitly mentioned, Qiddiya, a Public Investment Fund-backed entertainment megaproject in Riyadh, launched in 2019, is strongly expected to play a significant role in the Esports World Cup. This assumption is based on its prior partnership with Gamers8 and their shared backing by the PIF. Qiddiya made headlines recently as the presenting sponsor of Esports Insider’s business event, ESI London.
The conference also featured insightful panels moderated by prominent figures in the esports and sports industry, showcasing discussions on topics like the future of esports clubs, sports in the 21st century, unlocking esports potential, and the future of live entertainment with esports integration.
Overall, the New Global Sport Conference in Riyadh stands as a watershed moment in Saudi Arabia’s bid to claim its spot as a global powerhouse in the esports arena.
Last Updated on October 24, 2023