Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, announced on October 23 the launch of the eSports World Cup, which will be held annually during the summer season in the capital Riyadh starting in 2024.
Intervening at the New World Sports Conference in Riyadh, the Saudi Crown Prince stated that the eSports World Cup is “the next step in the Kingdom’s journey to becoming the world’s leading gaming and eSports hub,” stressing that the tournament “will contribute to the country’s achievement of its 2030 Vision goals, notably diversifying the economy, boosting the tourism sector, and creating employment opportunities.”
The Saudi Crown Prince also announced the establishment of the eSport World Cup Foundation as a non-profit organization that will organize the tournament and “strengthen cooperation between all gaming and eSports partners and stakeholders”.
Saudi Arabia is confident that this tournament will be a major tributary in the realization of the eGaming and eSports sector strategy, launched by Prince Mohammed bin Salman in September 2022, which aims to achieve a contribution of over 50 billion Saudi riyals ($ 13.4 billion) to the sector by 2030, thus creating over 39,000 new jobs and transforming Riyadh into an eGaming capital.
Holding the tournament in closed venues, accompanied by several activities and events, will be an opportunity to attract a wider range of visitors and boost Riyadh’s tourism sector in the summer season, which generally experiences a drop in tourist spending of 18%, attributable to a decline of up to 16% in hotel occupancy rates, and around a 13% drop in spending levels in restaurants and cafés during this period.
According to a statement released on October 23, Saudi Arabia’s launch of the tournament is the fruit of the “Gamers Season” in its first and second editions. A new tournament system model will be launched to crown the world’s best club across all participating games, contributing to the development of eSports clubs worldwide. Spanning over eight weeks, this tournament will feature the biggest prizes in the industry’s history.
E-gaming is popular in Saudi Arabia, a country where gamers account for 67% of the total population, 43% of which are women. The sector is expected to grow by up to 250% by 2030.