Esports Awards Heads to Saudi Arabia: Hosting Ceremony During Esports World Cup

esports awards and esports world cup partnership

Esports Awards Heads to Riyadh

In a significant move, the Esports Awards has announced a three-year partnership with the Saudi Arabia-backed Esports World Cup (EWC).

This collaboration means that Riyadh will host the 2024, 2025, and 2026 editions of the Esports Awards alongside the Esports World Cup, with the intent to explore even longer-term collaborations.

What is the Esports Awards?

The Esports Awards is an annual event that honors one of the best and most promising talents in the competitive gaming industry.

Established in 2015, this prestigious event recognizes excellence across several categories, including competitions, content creation, and media.

It’s a platform that honors the hard work and dedication of esports professionals, teams, and organizations worldwide.

Last year’s awards ceremony was held on November 30, 2023, in Las Vegas, where [the first Hall of Legend] Faker and Mohamed Light were honored as Esports Players of the Year for PC and Mobile gaming, respectively.

What is the Esports World Cup?

Initiated by Saudi Arabian Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman and organized by the government-founded Esports World Cup foundation, it is a annual multi-title esports and gaming festival held in Saudi Arabia.

This year, the event will feature 19 different titles including Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Counter-Strike 2, PUBG, and DOTA 2, with an overall prize pool of $60 million.

How Will the Partnership Elevate the Esports Awards?

According to Esports Awards CEO Michael Ashford (in an interview with Esports Insider), the partnership with the Esports World Cup will facilitate the expansion of the Esports Awards with elevated awards show experience.

This expansion includes:

  1. Lifetime Achievement mixer
  2. Red Carpet Event
  3. Esports Village

He acknowledged the event’s previous focus on the West and highlighted this partnership as an opportunity to position the Esports Awards as a truly global hub for esports, providing equal opportunities for attendance from both the East and West.

Addressing Concerns: Integrity and Representation

While the partnership has raised eyebrows within the esports community because of Saudi Arabia’s stance on women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and censorship, Ashford has addressed these concerns.

He assured that the Esports World Cup (meaning Saudi) will have no control over the award nominations or the adjudication process and that the Esports Awards will remain an “independently owned and operated entity.

Additionally, Ashford mentioned that the Esports World Cup will work to ensure a fair representation of the industry at the event, while also allowing for video acceptance of awards for those unable to attend in person.

The first joint Esports Awards are scheduled to take place on August 24th in Riyadh, the day before the Esports World Cup finale, with voting for the Award Finalists starting on June 27th.

Additionally, the organizers have also planned a second event, as a satellite event of the Esports Awards, to be held in Riyadh in the last quarter of 2024.

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