Saudi Arabia launch billion dollar esports World Cup plan

October 23 – Saudi Arabia is to launch an annual Esports World Cup, played across multiple games and boasting the largest prize pool ever seen in esports history.

Esports teams will compete across games from various genres.

The unannounced roster of games will span multiple genres, with football title EAFC expected to be at the top of competitive play in efootball, despite its separation from FIFA this year.

That of course could change if FIFA exert political muscle with FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino having actively courted Saudi money and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. FIFA has also created a World Cup 2034 bid environment with all the cards loaded in favour of Saudi Arabia. Saudi will be paying for the opportunity across a variety of currencies and leverage has been the hallmark of Infantino’s regime as FIFA president.

Infantino was pictured sitting alongside bin Salman at the launch event.

The world cup of esports was announced as being an annual event with the first edition tipped to begin in the summer of 2024.

Sports, esports, and video gaming are fundamental elements of the Saudi Crown Prince’s ambitious Vision 2030 transformation initiative with the tournament and the gaming eco-system around it targeted to create a $13.3 billion contribution to the GDP as well as 39,000 new job opportunities by 2030.

“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,” said bin Salman.

“The competition will enhance our progress toward 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.”

Last year Saudi Arabia’s Savvy Games Group, owned by sovereign wealth fund PIF, said it is investing $37.8 billion in making Saudi Arabia a global hub for gaming. That plan covers the creation of 250 games companies locally, and contribute $11 billion+ annually to the Saudi economy by 2030.

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