Riyadh, SPA: His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, has announced the launch of the Esports World Cup, which will be held annually in Riyadh starting with the summer of 2024. The largest global event of its kind, the competition will provide a platform that supports the gaming and esports sector and enhances the Kingdom’s position as a hub for international esports and sports competitions. HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman also announced the establishment of the Esports World Cup Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to drive a new era of collaboration between esports stakeholders and to enhance the sector’s sustainability. The announcement came during “The New Global Sport Conference”, which was hosted by the Kingdom and welcomed senior officials and global leaders in the sports, gaming, and esports sectors.
HRH the Crown stated, “The Esports World Cup is the natural next step in Saudi Arabia’s journey to become the premier global hub for gaming and esports, offering an unmatched esports experience that pushes the boundaries of the industry. The competition will enhance our progress towards realizing the Vision 2030 objectives of diversifying the economy, growing the tourism sector, creating new jobs in various industries, and providing world-class entertainment for citizens, residents, and visitors alike.”
The launch of the Esports World Cup reflects the Kingdom’s continuous efforts to sustain and grow the esports sector, as well as its ambitions to expand the entertainment and sports industries at home and abroad. The tournament also builds on the gaming passion seen in Saudi’s youth-majority population, and on homegrown esports successes such as the first and second editions of GAMERS8. The tournament will help accelerate the realization of the National Gaming and Esports Strategy. The strategy aims to increase the sector’s contribution to the Kingdom’s GDP by more than SAR50 billion by 2030 and create 39,000 new job opportunities.
The Esports World Cup will provide an enabling environment for the growth and sustainability of players, clubs, and the sector overall. The tournament will include the most popular games in the world across all genres and have the largest prize pool in esports history. The tournament will feature a unique cross game competition format that will reward and incentivize clubs that take on the challenge to become the ultimate Esports World Cup Champion and support the growth and sustainability of all eSports clubs.
The tournament will be complemented with a diversified set of activities and events that will draw visitors and tourists to the capital transforming it into a gaming capital. In fact, the indoor tournament is also planned as a key attraction to help bolster Saudi tourism during the summer. This opportunity is significant since Saudi experiences an average 16% drop-in hotel occupancy rates, an 18% decrease in tourism spending, a 13% drop in restaurant & cafe spending, and a 9% drop in consumer purchasing power during the summer.
The Esports World Cup Foundation will reveal additional details about the event early in the coming year.