Saudi Arabia will kick off one of the biggest esports tournaments in the world in July with a total prize pool of $15 million.
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The Gamers8 tournament will take place in the capital Riyadh for eight weeks starting July 14.
A purpose-built venue in the Boulevard Riyadh City entertainment district will host competitions in six different video games, as well as a series of music concerts and other performances.
Eight international artists have confirmed their Gamers8 appearances, organizers said in a statement, although the full lineup has yet to be released.
The event will also feature a number of local performers, along with magicians, comedians and musicians.
There will also be a Gaming Summit featuring international industry experts.
“With approximately 23.5 million gamers across the country, almost every household in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has someone with a deep passion for gaming,” said Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, Chairman of the Saudi Esports Federation.
“This passion for the game has long been a source of pride for Saudis.”
The tournament was organized by the Saudi Esports Federation and Gamers Without Borders, a charity that donates to causes including COVID-19 relief and vaccination efforts.
Gamers8 will be streaming live online and the full list of artists is expected to be announced on its official website.
Saudi Arabia’s gambling industry has boomed in recent years, with significant government support as part of a broader effort to diversify the oil-dependent economy.
The Kingdom’s gambling market reached $1 billion in 2021, the highest value among the Gulf countries, AFP reported citing market researcher Niko Partners.
In January, the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) launched the Savvy Gaming Group, which acquired ESL Gaming and FACEIT, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
The Saudi Esports Federation was founded in 2017 and has organized several national and international gaming tournaments.
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