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Saudi esports federation boosts industry with new public-private partnerships

Published: Updated:

The Saudi esports industry received a boost as the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS) announced several new public-private partnerships (PPPs) to enhance public services and provide the private sector with opportunities to invest and create jobs.

The new PPPs, part of the wide-ranging Vision 2030 economic reform plan, offer Saudis new entertainment tournaments and boosts to the gaming industry as well as job creation and investment opportunities.

SAFEIS was created in 2017 as the regulating body in charge of the development of elite gaming athletes and the creation of an ecosystem for the gaming community and industry in Saudi Arabia.

Last year, SAFEIS organized a range of world-class esports events inside the Kingdom, including its first FIFA esports tournament. Saudi Arabia already boasts an esports champion, with Mosaad Al-Dossary winning the FIFA eWorld Cup last summer after defeating his Belgian counterpart Stefano Pena in the final in London.

SAFEIS has signed new PPPs with companies including Vanguard, a holistic esports and gaming events management company.

“PPPs have a major role to play in Vision 2030. The vision aims to diversify the economy and lessen Saudi’s dependence on oil, but that is not all it aims for. By offering these partnerships, the best and most specialized among the private sector compete to win these investment opportunities. As such the resulting product provides the gaming community with the best possible services and experience,” said SAFEIS President Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, according to a press release statement.

The federation is also involved in intellectual games, including the national card game Baloot. SAFEIS announced it has partnered with a private local company in Saudi Arabia for the rights to manage and operate the national Baloot tournament until 2024. The first national Baloot championship was held last April at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Riyadh.

“We are focused on developing the local sector. We always look for local partners that can offer quality but can also help us achieve tangible results in job creation and knowledge transfer,” said SAFEIS CEO Turki al-Fozan.

“The eagerness of the private sector to partner with SAFEIS only shows that when investors are empowered and presented with lucrative opportunities like those available in esports and gaming they will not hesitate to jump on the opportunity,” al-Fozan added.