fsbsummit – Future of Sports Broadcasting Summit | 8-9 Mar 2023 | Online

July 12, 2024 fsbsummit0

Stc tv has announced that it is extensively covering Esports World Cup 2024 across five dedicated TV channels, utilising the advanced technical resources of the stc Group to deliver tournament coverage and a better viewer experience. Stc tv is significantly boosting the esports sector in Saudi Arabia by supporting the Esports World Cup (EWC), hosted in Riyadh for the first time at “Riyadh Boulevard City” until August 25, 2024.

With a record-breaking prize pool of $60m, stc tv brings viewers into the heart of the action. The platform allows audiences to follow the 22 competitions, complete with in-depth analyses and interviews with players and coaches, all aired on three live channels. Additionally, the “stc tv EWC Legends” channel offers exclusive and specialised coverage in Arabic, while the “stc tv EWC” channel provides English broadcasts, ensuring seamless access to all events and activities of the tournament for esports enthusiasts.

Stc tv also offers fans the flexibility to watch the championship at their convenience with a replay feature available for up to 14 days after the initial broadcast. Moreover, the live tournament broadcast is accessible via the stc play platform on stcplay.gg, allowing viewers to stay connected to the action from anywhere.

These efforts align with stc Group’s commitment to fostering the growth of gaming and esports in line with Saudi Vision 2030. By supporting the tournament as an Elite and Founding Partner of the inaugural Esports World Cup, stc Group aims to provide better experiences in the EWC, further positioning Saudi Arabia as a global esports hub.

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July 4, 2024 fsbsummit0

Bigo Live has announced its collaboration with the Esports World Cup (EWC) to host gaming tournaments in Saudi Arabia. This partnership, effective until July 28, 2024, underscores Bigo Live’s dedication to enriching gaming experiences for the Arabic-speaking community across the Middle East and North Africa.

The Esports World Cup, which runs until August 24, 2024, at Boulevard City in Riyadh, is anticipated to be the largest global esports and gaming festival. Over the eight-week period, gaming enthusiasts will have the chance to engage in immersive gaming activities, meet top esports teams and content creators, and interact with game publishers.

A significant aspect of Bigo Live’s collaboration with EWC is the extensive coverage of three major tournaments: Free Fire, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, and PUBG Mobile. This will offer fans an immersive experience, allowing them to engage deeply with the competitive gaming action.

Free Fire- the group stage matches will be livestreamed from July 10-12, with finals on July 13-14.

Bang Bang: The Mid-Season Cup will run from July 3-14, and the Women’s Invitational from July 24-27.

PUBG Mobile – the Group stages are set for July 19-21, the Survival Stage on July 23-24, and Main Stage from July 26-28.

Bigo Live’s mobile platform will feature immersive Arabic-language commentary for all streamed matches. This integration aims to enhance accessibility and engagement for Arabic-speaking users, enabling seamless participation in the tournaments and fostering a vibrant gaming community. This strategic initiative aligns with audience preferences and strengthens the platform’s connection with gaming fans in the region, providing mutual benefits for both Bigo Live and Esports World Cup.

“We are excited to collaborate with Esports World Cup to bring the electrifying world of esports to our community in the Middle East,” said a spokesperson from Bigo Live. “This partnership underscores our commitment to amplifying the excitement of gaming and celebrating the incredible talent within our Arab audience. With mobile esports rapidly gaining momentum in the Middle East —fueled by Saudi Arabia’s high mobile penetration and milestones like over 530m hours viewed in games such as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, we take pride in integrating it into Bigo Live’s platform. By delivering exhilarating tournaments with immersive Arabic-language commentary, we aim to deepen our connection with gaming enthusiasts across the region and showcase their passion on a global stage.”

The collaboration also highlights Bigo Live’s dedication to supporting the thriving esports and gaming culture in the Middle East, a region poised for substantial growth in the gaming sector. With Saudi Arabia leading the charge, home to 85% of gaming enthusiasts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and with the esports market expected to grow from $1bn in 2021 to $6.8bn by 2030, this partnership with the Esports World Cup solidifies Bigo Live’s role as a key platform for esports enthusiasts. By amplifying the visibility of EWC events, Bigo Live not only elevates competitive gaming but also champions Saudi Arabia’s ambitious National Gaming and Esports Strategy, which aims to boost GDP and create thousands of new jobs by 2030.

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July 3, 2024 fsbsummit0

TikTok and the Esports World Cup Foundation (EWCF) have signed a partnership to elevate the esports experience for the first Esports World Cup this summer in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This collaboration aims to harness TikTok’s extensive audience reach, providing esports fans worldwide with engagement and diverse content.

A key feature of this partnership is the introduction of a dedicated Esports World Cup (EWC) Hub within the TikTok app. This hub will centralise content from the EWC, its official broadcasters, teams, and players, offering comprehensive and immersive coverage throughout the event. The EWC will produce exclusive content specifically for TikTok, encouraging collaborations with popular TikTok creators to foster additional content creation.

TikTok has also planned a series of interactive activities to enrich the EWC experience. A weekly live show produced by TikTok will provide in-depth coverage and behind-the-scenes reports, keeping fans informed and entertained throughout the tournament. Additionally, TikTok LIVE will feature a variety of activities, including live broadcasts from the event by creators from around the globe. The platform will also introduce custom icons and features exclusive to TikTok LIVE for the EWC, delivering dynamic content to fans worldwide.

Commenting on the partnership, Mohammed Alnimer, Sales Director of Esports World Cup Foundation, said: “We are excited to join forces with TikTok to redefine esports content and entertainment among a broader audience. TikTok is an excellent way to authentically engage with esports communities worldwide, and enable more fans to follow and support the Esports World Cup athletes and clubs. Content creation is a key part of our strategy to grow the global esports ecosystem, and we couldn’t have asked for a better partner than TikTok to help achieve that goal.”

Mohamed Harb, Head of Partnerships, TikTok MENA, added: “Promoting a shared appreciation for e-sports, connecting fans and players across different cultures and regions is at the top of TikTok priorities. By leveraging our innovative capabilities, content creators can bring fresh and exciting perspectives to the e-sports community. TikTok enhances the fan experience with real-time interactions and exclusive content. By continuously evolving and adapting to the needs of the e-sports community, we are helping to shape the future of gaming content and fan engagement.”

Through this collaboration, TikTok and the EWCF aim to capitalise on their strengths to deliver better content and experiences to esports enthusiasts.

Starting on July 3, 2024, the Esports World Cup will transform Riyadh into the epicentre of esports fandom and gaming culture with a massive eight-week festival. The event will feature gaming activations, community tournaments, pop culture celebrations, international experiences and more. Fans can enjoy these activities and watch their favourite athletes and clubs compete in 22 Game Championships for a share of more than $60m in prize money, the largest in esports history.

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June 27, 2024 fsbsummit0

The Esports World Cup Foundation (EWCF) has named the Saudi Telecommunication Company Group as the Elite and Founding partner for the inaugural Esports World Cup (EWC). The festival will be hosted at Riyadh Boulevard City from July 3 and August 25 2024. The partnership was announced at an official signing ceremony attended by Faisal Alsaber, Group Chief Commercial Officer and Ralf Reichert, CEO of Esports World Cup Foundation.

Through this partnership, STC Group will provide connectivity across all EWC venues and will continue to provide their gaming technologies for esports competitions. STC Group is also the naming partner for three key venues at the event, which will host events during the tournament, including STC Arena, STC Play Gaming Hall, and STC TV World Cup Studios. The STC Arena and World Cup Studios will host esports matches, while the Gaming Hall will serve as a hub for participants to join community tournaments and other activations.

Speaking about the collaboration, Ralf Reichert, CEO of EWCF, said: “I’m proud to welcome STC Group, a telecommunications giant and digital pioneer, as an Elite and Founding Partner of the Esports World Cup. STC Group is the digital backbone of our competitions and will bring the EWC content to local and global audiences. Through their festival activation, STC will enable fans visiting the EWC to stay connected with the special STC SIM Card. As one of the largest companies in the MENA region, their support means we’re not only going to offer exceptional digital access for fans and athletes but can take the Esports World Cup to the next level.”

Olayan Alwetaid, CEO of STC Group, stated: “Our partnership with the Esports World Cup is a testament to our vision for the future of gaming. We are thrilled to be deploying our seamless world-class connectivity, enabling the kingdom to become the premier global hub for gaming. STC Group is committed to bringing this event to life with innovative technological solutions, as well as showcasing the vast scale and scope of its services.”

During the EWC, STC Play, the gaming platform, will feature activities, including an ongoing prediction segment for all tournaments. Furthermore, with the STC Play app, the participants can register for community tournaments taking place in the STC Play Gaming Hall, one of the festival’s major venues.

STC TV, a streaming service, will be streaming all EWC tournaments on its platform, ensuring viewers can watch the festival live. This partnership highlights the commitment by STC Group and the Esports World Cup to advance the growth of the gaming industry, contributing to their 2030 vision objectives of becoming a gaming hub.

The eight-week festival in Riyadh will showcase gaming activities, community tournaments, pop culture
festivities, international experiences, and more. Fans can partake in these events and witness athletes and clubs vie in 20 Game Championships for a share of over $60m in prize money — the largest prize pool in esports history.

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March 20, 2024 fsbsummit0

The Esports World Cup Foundation (EWCF) and Sony Group Corporation (Sony) have signed a multi-year partnership agreement to collaborate on initiatives for the Esports World Cup. The collaboration leverages Sony’s acclaimed gaming products and entertainment expertise alongside the EWC’s vision to unite the global gaming and esports communities across the most popular games, and underscores a shared ambition to broaden the appeal of gaming and esports to players and fans worldwide. The inaugural Esports World Cup 2024 is slated to take place this summer in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

As part of this agreement, Sony Pictures Entertainment will create a behind-the-scenes documentary series showcasing the players and games of the Esports World Cup. Sony, together with Sony Interactive Entertainment, will also look to explore additional opportunities to support promising creators and talent in the region. Sony Music Entertainment will produce the music Anthem of the Esports World Cup 2024.

Speaking about the partnership, Ralf Reichert, CEO of Esports World Cup Foundation, said: “Sony is the perfect partner for the Esports World Cup. Our goal is to establish a global platform for esports and gaming that sets new standards for live esports events. Sony’s experience in creating stunning visuals, engaging music, compelling storytelling, and state-of-the-art technology will be a game-changer for the Esports World Cup. The EWC aims to take esports to the next level, and we are thrilled to count on Sony’s world-class expertise in this endeavor.”

Toshimoto Mitomo, Executive Deputy President and CSO of Sony Group Corporation, added: “We’re excited to make the Esports World Cup more fun and engaging for fans globally by harnessing the creativity and technology from across our diverse businesses. Sony has been enhancing the esports experience especially with Sony Interactive Entertainment’s initiatives such as PlayStation Tournaments and the annual EVO fighting game series. We look forward to further catering to this growing, global community of players and fans with the Esports World Cup.”

With the Esports World Cup, EWCF has created a celebration of competitive gaming and esports fandom. This summer, top esports organisations will face off in Riyadh, to compete in a unique cross-game structure for the largest prize pool in esports history. Recently, the EWC has announced the addition of 10 popular titles – Dota 2, Counter-Strike 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Honor of Kings, PUBG, PUBG Mobile, Overwatch, Free Fire, Fortnite, and Rainbow Six Siege – as participating games. More games will be announced soon.

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March 11, 2024 fsbsummit0

IKO Media Group has announced a significant expansion of its collaboration with Eutelsat Group, unveiling plans to launch an eSports TV package, eCLUTCH, catering to audiences across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The platform, slated to debut on Eutelsat’s 16° East orbital position, HOTBIRD at 13° East, and 7/8° West, will feature an initial offering of 10 eSports and gaming channels, with further additions anticipated in the near future.

The eSports market is on a meteoric rise, projected to surpass 856m users globally by 2028. With millions of viewers worldwide avidly following eSports tournaments and gameplay, iKO Media Group aims to extend the reach of this captivating content beyond traditional streaming platforms and social media channels by leveraging satellite broadcasting, thus reaching audiences in areas beyond the reach of terrestrial networks.

By integrating satellite broadcasting into its distribution strategy, iKO Media Group aims to amplify the accessibility of eSports channels to millions of households equipped with satellite receivers. This strategic move not only allows broadcasters and TV platforms to tap into new audience demographics but also brings previously inaccessible content to viewers across the region.

The multi-year agreement between Eutelsat and iKO Media Group heralds a new business paradigm for Eutelsat, underscoring its evolution as a solutions provider committed to collaborating with partners to develop value-driven solutions for clients and end-users alike.

Albania’s premier pay-TV platform, DigitAlb, has already embraced the eCLUTCH service at 16° East, recognising its potential to enrich its content offerings and attract a broader subscriber base.

Commenting on the deal, Arnaud Verlhac, eCLUTCH CO-Founder, said: “Close to 1bn people around the world watch video games and tournaments. For media, E-sports is a huge opportunity to reach a new target audience in the same way they already do with sports, music, or events. I am really excited to build this bridge with such a strong and trusted partner as Eutelsat. The launch of eCLUTCH on DigitAlb, and across the EMEA region, is the achievement of several months of hard work, but just the start of a fantastic adventure.”

DigitAlb CEO, Eglinor Ramaj, added: “Launching this eSport channel package will help us attract new audience demographics. As a well-established TV Platform, DigitAlb is able to provide larger audiences for eSports channels, while these channels will help us attract a younger digital-native demographic, to whom we can offer a high quality, large screen experience for their eSports passion.”

Laurence Delpy, President of Eutelsat Video Business Unit, stated: “We are honoured to be selected by iKO Media to launch this innovative new platform. The deal showcases both the new types of content we are bringing to satellite, as well as satellite’s role in enabling broadcasters to extend their reach and target new audience bases. We are also delighted to see our anchor client, DigitAlb, already making eCLUTCH available for its subscribers.”

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September 5, 2023 fsbsummit0

Saudi Esports Federation (SEF) and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) have announced a three-year partnership with a primary focus on propelling local esports talent onto the global stage, including a special emphasis on fostering women gamers.

This collaboration will introduce a series of events and challenge-based initiatives meticulously crafted to nurture emerging esports talent in Saudi Arabia. These initiatives will provide aspiring gamers with a direct route to SEF’s esports development programmes.

As part of this alliance, SEF and KFC will join forces to enhance the gaming landscape by delivering high-quality streamed content. This will be facilitated through SEF’s streaming programme, Voices of Saudi Esports. KFC’s participation will be instrumental in elevating the platform by offering gaming content. Audiences will be treated to branded streamed gameplay content featuring KFC discounts and promotions.

Speaking about the deal and initiative, Ahmed Albishri, Deputy CEO of Saudi Esports Federation, said: “By nurturing emerging talents, promoting gender equality in gaming, and providing engaging content, this collaboration marks a significant stride towards building a robust gaming ecosystem in the Kingdom. The Saudi Esports Federation and PLAY KFC are set to reshape the esports landscape in Saudi Arabia through this dynamic partnership.”

A highlight of this partnership is the launch of the ‘First Female Saudi E-League,’ a dedicated initiative aimed at championing and empowering female gamers in Saudi Arabia. The top-performing team in this league will gain entry into the KFC X SEF accelerator programme, offering them direct training from professional esports teams and trainers. This initiative is poised to elevate female gamers to the forefront of the gaming industry, granting them a coveted spot at Gamers8, the gaming and esports festival, in 2024.

The second edition of Gamers8, an eight-week-long extravaganza held at Boulevard Riyadh City, featuring elite esports tournaments, live music concerts, and a multitude of attractions, has recently concluded. In the upcoming period, KFC will document the journey of these pioneering female gamers through an engaging content series, celebrating their growth, determination, and achievements in the esports realm.

Ozge Zoralioglu, Chief Marketing Officer, KFC, Yum! Brands, added: “At KFC, we’ve always believed in the magic that esports brings to the table; hence we created PLAY KFC as the ultimate platform to unite communities, ignite passions, and unveil talents. But what truly sets PLAY KFC apart is the ‘First Female Saudi E-League,’ a realm that echoes our unwavering commitment to inclusivity and empowerment as we champion the growth of female gamers. Like our world-famous chicken, our partnership with the Saudi Esports Federation promises an experience that lingers, an impact that resonates, and a legacy that’s nothing short of extraordinary.”

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August 21, 2023 fsbsummit0

The Afro-Arab Esports League has been inaugurated in Riyadh, encompassing 25 member nations hailing from the African and Arab regions.

The league’s primary goal is to elevate the competitive landscape of esports across its member nations. It harnesses the vibrant essence of esports and the unifying potential of gaming to bridge people across borders, cultures, and backgrounds.

Initial tournaments of the Afro-Arab Esports League unfolded in Riyadh this weekend at the world-renowned Gamers8: The Land of Heroes, the global gaming and esports festival. Within Boulevard Riyadh City at Gamers8, the Challenge Zone will host tournaments in eFootball and Valorant, featuring distinct male and female competitions.

The league has been launched to enhance the competitive level of esports across member nations, while utilising esports’ dynamic spirit and the power of gaming to unite people across borders, cultures, and backgrounds.

The 25 nations that collectively constitute the Afro-Arab Esports League are Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, UAE, Tunisia, Senegal, Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, Bahrain, Oman, Cameroon, Mali, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Burkina Faso, Jordan, Lebanon, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, South Africa, Namibia, and Nigeria.

Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, Chairman of the Saudi Esports Federation, and Chairman of the Arab Esports Federation, said: “The Afro-Arab Esports League is a testament to the growing importance of esports in both the African and Arab worlds and a key way to create space for cultural exchange and cooperation among the 25 participating countries. Together, we herald a future where unity knows no bounds, where the thrill of competition unites us, and where the passion for gaming brings nations together.”

Dr Ashraf Sobhi, Egyptian Minister of Youth and Sports, said: “We thank HRH Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan for his support in setting up the Afro-Arab Esports League and the inaugural tournaments here in Riyadh. The importance and development opportunities from gathering African and Arab youths together for competitions can’t be overstated.”

Future tournaments will be announced in due course.

Organised by the Saudi Esports Federation, eight-week long Gamers8: The Land of Heroes has a prize pool of $45m – triple that of Gamers8 last year. The gaming and esports festival worldwide features 16 elite esports tournaments from 13 top titles, as well as community gaming and educational platforms. These are complemented by live concerts from top global, regional, and local artists, as well as numerous fun-filled activities and attractions for the whole family.

The festival concludes with the Next World Forum, a gaming and esports forum held at the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre on August 30-31, which brings together sector leaders and experts from around the world.

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February 23, 2023 fsbsummit0

AD Gaming, the entity driving Abu Dhabi’s fast-growing gaming industry, has signed a partnership agreement with Sawa Group, a game publishing and esports company in the MENA region.

The partnership agreement will bring together two leaders of industry in the gaming world, helping to facilitate the international expansion of Chinese gaming and esports companies through Abu Dhabi and providing the local industry with access to reach new, content-hungry audiences. Simultaneously, Sawa Group will benefit from being part of the largest cluster of gaming companies in the region, with opportunities to work alongside the ever-growing AD Gaming community on new and exciting projects.

As part of the agreement, Sawa Group will relocate to Abu Dhabi to bring its experience to the area and foster regional prosperity.

Commenting on the partnership, Sultan Al Riyami, Head of Gaming & Esports at AD Gaming, said: “Demand for high-quality gaming content across the Arabic-speaking world has never been higher. The opportunity to tap into this market from Abu Dhabi is substantial, and Sawa’s expertise in the localisation of gaming esports content addresses this head-on. Since its inception, AD Gaming has succeeded in building an ecosystem that supports all segments of the gaming and esports sector. Bringing Sawa into the fold both diversifies and expands our community as we continue to advance Abu Dhabi’s gaming industry.”

Jing Wang, CEO of Sawa Group, added: “Aligned with AD Gaming, Sawa Group is dedicated to enhancing the gaming and esports ecosystem in the UAE, creating more opportunities for the country’s passionate gamers to experience global content in their native language. By supporting its thriving community, we are confident that Abu Dhabi will become a premier global destination for gaming and esports.”

She continued: “Through the collaboration and partnership with AD Gaming, Sawa Group hopes to balance game publishing and esports exposure to make Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE one of the world’s top centres for the gaming industry.”

Sawa Group recently published the deeply localised SLG game Infinity Kingdom, حرب الممالك in Arabic, which has been downloaded millions of times across the Huawei app gallery, Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Along with its own multi-channel network, Sawa Group also has partnerships with top-tier TV channels in the MENA region, including MBC Group, through which Sawa tries to build up deep connections between game developers globally, the core of Arabic culture, and all players and users of all ages in the MENA region.

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February 17, 2023 fsbsummit0

Saudi Arabia-based gaming and e-sports company Savvy Games Group has invested $265m in VSPO, a Chinese esports startup specialising in tournaments, venues and production.

The deal symbolises a “landmark commercial partnership” between China, the world’s biggest esports market, and Saudi Arabia as it implements Vision 2030 to become a leading global hub for gaming and esports.

Savvy, owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, will now become VSPO’s single largest equity holder.

In a statement, Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, Vice Chairman of Savvy Games Group, said: “This investment is one part of the ambitious plan that will enable and support the e-sports ecosystem in Saudi Arabia. Attracting international companies to Saudi Arabia through investments and partnerships will contribute to providing skills, knowledge transfer and building capabilities in the whole ecosystem.”

The transaction reportedly marks the biggest cash investment ever made in an e-sports organisation.

Brian Ward, CEO of Savvy Games Group, added: “This is a significant transaction for Savvy, and gives us a major foothold in the important Asia region. We are looking forward to diversifying our geographic footprint alongside VSPO. This historic investment will strengthen our ambitious global strategy, with a particular focus on Asia and the Middle East, where we will support Savvy’s vision to grow e-sports throughout this incredibly dynamic and young region.”

Dino Ying, CEO and founder of VSPO, said that working with Savvy would contribute worldwide to the sector’s growth, and VSPO will also use this funding to invest in pioneering new technology to further enhance the experience for game fans.

“This historic investment will strengthen our ambitious global strategy, focusing on Asia and the Middle East where we will support Savvy’s vision to grow esports throughout this incredibly dynamic and young region,” Ying added.

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