Saudi entertainment city Qiddiya sponsors Esports World Cup

The Esports World Cup has signed Qiddiya, Saudi Arabia’s planned entertainment city, as the tournament’s nexus partner. The global esports competition will now call the Qiddiya Gaming & Esports District home for the next three years.

Set to run from July to August 2024, the inaugural 2024 Esports World Cup will host major tournaments in top titles. These include StarCraft II, Dota 2, Counter-Strike 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Garena Free Fire and more. The previous iteration of the event, Gamers8, awarded a record breaking $45 million in prizes across all titles.

“We are very excited to join forces with Qiddiya City. When we first saw their plans to build a city that will be home to next-generation gaming and entertainment, it was hard to imagine — now, we see the progress in the construction site every day. It’s an honor to be involved in this, and to call Qiddiya City the home of the Esports World Cup in a few years,” said Ralf Reichert, CEO of the Esports World Cup Foundation.

Saudi Arabia's planned entertainment city Qiddiya will be home to a dedicated gaming and esports district, sponsoring esports world cup
A preview of Qiddiya’s Esports Bootcamp facilities.

The Esports World Cup also named Qiddiya the presenting partner for the Elite Player Lounge and the Qiddiya Esports Arena. These sponsorships will highlight the city’s purpose built facilities including the recently unveiled Elite Esports Bootcamps.

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Esports World Cup brings gamers to Qiddiya

Saudi Arabia is building the Qiddiya Gaming & Esports District, a mixed-use gaming and esports district, to attract gaming tourism. The gaming neighborhood will host multiple dedicated esports venues, themed hotels, practice facilities for up to 20 esports teams. Outside of tourism, the district will also be home to the regional headquarters for 30 video game companies.

While the project launched in December 2023, the Saudi government aims to attract 10 million visits annually. Qiddiya Gaming will have dedicated space around the Esports World Cup to preview the city’s ambitious plans for the district.

“Our strategic partnership with the Esports World Cup shows our commitment to the gaming and esports communities. Through innovative partnerships and creation of world-class assets, Qiddiya City aims to become a global gaming and entertainment hub,” said Abdullah Aldawood, managing director of Qiddiya Investment Company.

Saudi Arabia’s ramping investments in the gaming industry have come with controversy. Like other sports, critics have accused the government of “esportswashing” human rights abuses. In 2020, Riot Games announced and ended a partnership in less than 24 hours with another Saudi Arabian development, Neom, as a result of fan backlash.

Gaming is just one part of Qiddiya’s plans to become a world class entertainment hub. Outside of gaming, the city is building a Six Flags theme park, a water park, golf courses, a FIFA compliant soccer stadium and more. Earlier this week, Qiddiya announced a new F1 racetrack too.

Notably, Qiddiya and the Esports World Cup Federation have shared ownership and a shared mission. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund owns both the planned city and Savvy Games Group, the Esports World Cup Federation’s parent company. Both projects fall under the country’s Saudi Vision 2030 plan to help diversify the country’s economy.

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