Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans for an annual Esports World Cup, starting in the summer of 2024.
The Esports World Cup, to be held in the capital city of Riyadh, would be the event with the largest prize pool ever seen in esports history. The competition will feature a plethora of the most popular games from across the globe, with clubs vying for the title of the world champions.
Associated with Saudi league superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, this venture is a part of the crown prince’s broader Vision 2030 initiative, which aims at reducing the kingdom’s dependency on oil by diversifying its economy. Gaming and esports form a pivotal part of this vision, with the government earmarking substantial funds to galvanize this sector.
Big bucks for a burgeoning industry
Saudi Arabia’s Savvy Games Group, which is backed by the sovereign wealth fund PIF, had earlier announced an investment of 142 billion riyals ($37.8 billion) in various initiatives aimed at positioning Saudi Arabia as a global hub for gaming. These investments are afoot to establish 250 gaming companies locally, creating approximately 39,000 jobs, and augmenting the gaming sector’s contribution to the Saudi GDP to 50 billion riyals by 2030.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is believed to be a fan of video games and the burgeoning esport industry, and especially the Call of Duty series.