Esports and gaming fans have a new travel destination to look forward to in 2024, as Saudi Arabia reveals its ambitious plan to construct an esports city in Riyadh, the nation’s capital.

With an impressive budget of US$500 million allocated for this project, the esports city aims to establish itself as a premier destination for large-scale events and tournaments, capable of accommodating up to 20,000 attendees.

Although the city’s full completion is slated for 2024, the local government is already anticipating the opportunity to host the World Cyber Games, an annual esports competition featuring multiple game titles and attracting athletes from around the globe.

Saudi Arabia announces plans to build a multi-million dollar esports city

This ongoing construction is a significant component of a larger initiative known as Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the Kingdom’s economy by reducing its dependence on oil and petroleum products, the country’s primary exports.

Under the guidance of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Vision 2030 includes a comprehensive strategy that focuses on the gaming and esports sectors. The goal is to generate employment opportunities across various industries while offering top-tier entertainment for both residents and tourists.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at night captured by سيف الظاهر (saifaldhaher)
Credit: Saif Aldhaher

“The esports city is a significant development for the esports industry in Saudi Arabia,” said Mohammed AlQahtani, the CEO of Saudi Arabia Holding Co., one of the Kingdom’s major private equity firms.

“It is a sign of the country’s commitment to developing the industry and becoming a global hub for esports. The city is expected to attract major esports teams and players from around the world, and it will provide a platform for local talent to develop and compete on the global stage.”

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