Qiddiya Plans To Invest Around 350 Billion Dollars in an Incentive Program to Attract Esports to the City

Qiddiya Plans To Invest Around 350 Billion Dollars in an Incentive Program to Attract Esports to the City

10. July 2024 by Valentin Pasetti

Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Qiddiya project aims to transform the city into a global esports and gaming hub with a massive $350 billion investment in economic incentives.

Qiddiya Club Program: Supporting Esports Organizations

Qiddiya is set to launch the Qiddiya Club Program, designed to attract esports organizations and gaming companies to Riyadh. This initiative includes financial support and aims to establish partnerships with over 10 tournament organizers, 30 esports organizations, 25 game studios and publishers, and 30 consumer brands.

Qiddiya planea incentivos para atraer esports ciudad

First Wave of Teams

The first wave of the program will feature at least 15 teams from regions including Southeast Asia, South Korea, China, Japan, Africa, the Middle East, North America, South America, and Europe.

Participation Requirements

To join the new Club Program, esports teams must meet several criteria:

  • Establish a legal entity in Saudi Arabia.
  • Generate revenue within the country.
  • Contribute to the esports academy’s offerings.
  • Employ administrative staff.
  • Host professional teams.
  • Create content in Arabic.


Management and Selection Process

The Qiddiya management team will oversee the program, with the selection process concluding in the third quarter of 2024.

Public Investment Fund and Vision 2030

Funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), Qiddiya aims to become an international center and tourist destination. The project aligns with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, a government initiative to diversify the economy and generate new non-oil revenues. The PIF also funds and owns Savvy Games Group, which acquired ESL Gaming and FACEIT to form ESL FACEIT Group.

Extensive Budget for Development

Qiddiya’s extensive $350 billion budget will cover the development of:

  • Resorts and hotels.
  • Attractions and residential areas.
  • Branded theme parks.
  • Sports facilities.
  • The already announced gaming and esports district, Qiddiya Gaming.


Similar Incentive Programs

The new club incentive is akin to the Esports World Cup (EWC) Club Support Program, which promotes financial sustainability for organizations through the “winter of esports.” Participants in the EWC Club Support Program can receive annual funding rounds in six figures and additional financial rewards for driving audience engagement.

Controversies and Criticisms

Despite the potential financial benefits for esports teams, the Saudi government faces criticism for what some perceive as “esports whitewashing.” Critics also highlight Saudi Arabia’s human rights policies, particularly regarding LGBTQ+communities and women’s rights.

Final Toughts

Qiddiya’s ambitious $350 billion investment program aims to position Riyadh as a global esports and gaming hub, offering extensive financial support and development opportunities for esports organizations worldwide.

However, while the initiative promises significant economic and industry benefits, it must address ongoing criticisms related to human rights to ensure a balanced and sustainable future for the esports community in Saudi Arabia.

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