Saudi Arabia esports policy: Watch-train-play


ESL Faceit partners with Qiddiya Image: Qiddiya

The esports company ESL FACEIT Group and Qiddiya City (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) have agreed to drive esports evolution by entering into a five-year partnership.

‘ESL’ stated that through the partnership they will engage their worldwide fan base of 225 million gamers, inviting them to share their vision and help shape the future global Gaming and Esports District in Qiddiya City.

Cologne (Germany)-based the ESL FACEIT Group is the leading competitive games and esports company. They help brands embrace the youth culture phenomenon. Through exposure and authentic activation, the company enable brands to engage the notoriously hard-to-reach global youth audiences capable of driving their growth today and tomorrow.

Qiddiya City will be home to the world’s first mixed-use gaming and esports district that will attract gamers from across the globe and cement Saudi Arabia as the global epicenter of this dynamic sector. It will become the place for gamers from all walks of life to live, work and play, with gaming-themed apartments and hotels.

‘ESL’ further stated that the ESL FACEIT Group will lean on creative technology to develop immersive experiences, in-game missions and stage takeovers during its circuit of global events to inspire the fans, players and partners to help define the future of play at the Qiddiya City Gaming and Esports District.

The gamers and fans will have exclusive access to new developments in the District during DreamHack festivals (an ESL Gaming brand specializing in esports tournaments and other gaming conventions), ESL and Intel Extreme Masters (IEM – a series of international esports tournaments held in countries around the world) competitions, and on EFG’s digital esports platform, FACEIT (an esports platform founded in London, UK, in 2012). This includes both top-tier and amateur circuits across ESL Counter-Strike Pro Tour, ESL Challenger, ESL Impact, ESL Dota 2 Pro Tour, DreamHack festivals, and more over the 5-year partnership.

The partnership is part of EFG and Qiddiya’s joint commitment to support the sustainable growth of the esports industry through building pipelines of multigenerational fandom in the world’s most promising markets, notably the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

Added Abdullah Aldawood, Managing Director of Qiddiya Investment Company (real estate development company), “As a global Capital of Play, the Qiddiya City will host a critical component of Saudi Arabia’s National Gaming and Esports Strategy (the strategy aims to place Saudi Arabia as the global hub for the gaming and esports sector) and help power the next generation of esports. Our partnership with the ESL FACEIT Group ensures that the players, the fans and the creators worldwide will play a central role in building this unprecedented hub of entertainment and innovation. We will be setting a new benchmark for fan experiences in parallel with athlete and talent development.”

Commented Craig Levine, Co-Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ESL FACEIT Group, “Qiddiya is a City built for and inspired by the global esports and gaming community in one of the industry’s fastest-growing markets. As a pioneering global destination for gaming and esports, Qiddiya City will grow and develop in collaboration with the community, an important cornerstone for a more sustainable future. We’re confident and honored that EFG’s decades of experience will create value for the City’s scalable, fan-first vision.”

Qiddiya City’s Gaming & Esports District will be the world’s first mix-use gaming and esports district – an unrivaled investment in building a gaming utopia. Not only will the district become an epicenter for esports fandom and the development of professional gamers, but it will also serve as the regional headquarters for the leading video game companies and esports organizations.

Built to reflect the interests and ideals of gamers, the Qiddiya Gaming & Esports District will cover 500,000 square meters of gaming space, housing, cutting-edge esports facilities that introduce new ways to watch, train and play. With EFG’s active consultation, these facilities will provide the lowest latency technology infrastructure in the world, ideal for supporting the previously-announced Esports Bootcamp pre-competition training centers, as well as Sports Science performance labs and high-end tech incubators to spur gaming innovation.

The Esports Bootcamp is essentially a training camp: A place where full and part-time e-athletes alike eat, sleep and breathe the game they are competing in. It is the place where friendships are forged and teamwork is born.

Together, the Qiddiya City and EFG affirm their joint commitment to supporting the esports industry’s sustainable growth by building multigenerational fandom pipelines in the world’s most promising markets, notably the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

Concluded Franck Guignery, Senior Vice-President (SVP) Middle East and Africa of ESL FACEIT Group, “The growth of gaming in the Kingdom has transformed its young and progressive esports scene into a powerhouse that will fuel the global community. This partnership brings us parity that pushes the landscape forward through compelling narratives and must-watch global events. Together with Qiddiya, we’re inviting the community to own and shape the future home of esports and gaming and create a positive impact in the industry.”

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