— Published 24 October 2023

Saudi Arabia displays its ambitions

Saudi Arabia’s appetite for international sporting events is proving insatiable. On Monday 23 October, the kingdom announced its decision to organise an annual e-sports World Cup from next year. The announcement was made in a press release by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmane, who is well known for his passion for eSports. “The eSport World Cup is a natural step in Saudi Arabia’s plan to become the world’s leading centre for video games and eSports,” he explained, adding that the event would host “the world’s most popular games, across all genres.” The press release also explains that the World Cup will offer the largest prize fund in the history of eSports. Details of the competition will be revealed early next year, but it is already a given that the first edition will be held in Riyadh, where it will replace the Gamers8 festival (pictured above). Saudi Arabia is currently hosting the third edition of the World Combat Games (20-30 October). It has also been chosen as the host country for the Asian Games, with the summer version scheduled for 2030 and the winter version for two years later. The kingdom is also the overwhelming favourite to host the FIFA World Cup in 2034.