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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - RIYADH — Saudi Arabia has set up a new charity esports event to raise money to fight the coronavirus pandemic with a $10 million prize fund.
Gamers will be able to compete for their chance to decide where the prize money goes in the tournament, known as Gamers Without Borders by Saudi, and will take place between April 24 and June 7.
The seven-week long mega-series, which includes daily and weekly public tournaments and prize giveaways worth a further $2million, is inviting gamers of all abilities to sign-up now at www.gamerswithoutborders.com to enjoy the chance to compete in an action-packed schedule on some of the world’s most popular game titles. Ahead of the opening event organizers plan to announce the specific leading titles to feature in the global tournament as part of the exciting build up.
The competition comes as the COVID-19 coronavirus keeps people at home, shuts businesses, and restricts travel to a minimum. Countries around the world have implemented strict lockdown measures to combat the virus, which has caused over 175,000 deaths worldwide with untold economic repercussions.
“Much of the world is in lockdown. Many feel helpless in response and alone. Yet the simple beauty of esports is that it is digital by design and can be enjoyed by everyone, anywhere and at any time. It has never been more relevant and now is the time for all gamers to join together and contribute to the cause,” said Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Sultan, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS).
SAFEIS is organizing the event with the technical support of ESL, the world’s largest esports company.
The tournament will be open to anyone, and feature a two-tier system. Amateurs and gaming enthusiasts can compete across six global community tournaments each week, with the best performers climbing up for a chance to compete in the upper tier against the world’s most elite gamers.
At the elite level, a share of the $10 million prize fund is up for grabs and set to be distributed to one of 12 different charities selected by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief).
Tournament winners will pick the non-profit of their choice to support the heroic work charities are doing in the face of the global pandemic. Sponsorship revenue generated during the event will also be directly donated to charity.
All the tournaments will be streamed live with support in eight different languages, including Arabic, English, and Mandarin, according to a statement.
“In this difficult period where the world feels more disconnected and distant than ever before, we are extremely proud that, through Gamers Without Borders, our Kingdom will unite and connect the global gaming community in response to COVID-19 and ultimately help save lives,” added Prince Faisal.
Commenting on the partnership, ESL’s VP Business Development MENA Abdelatif Sakkoum said: “Leaning on our 20 years of esports experience, ESL accepted to become a partner of the ‘Gamers without Borders’ charity tournament to set up a large competition across eight esports and gaming titles within a very short time frame.”
He added, “We’ll provide and create the best possible conditions to set up a month-long competition for this vital cause.”
A wide range of other exciting activities will continue to be announced throughout the event. Gamers Without Borders will host a special Saudi top-flight football tournament.
Substituting the football action on the pitch, eager fans will be able to enjoy watching three unprecedented formats take place across a football-packed month which will see esports athletes, professional footballers and fans face off head-to-head. Further details on dates and participating players will be announced in due course.
In addition to gaming and watching, Gamers Without Borders will also present a learning opportunity. In collaboration with the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT), a learning Academy will be launched offering a series of training programs, prized hackathons and webinars targeted at developers, gamers, investors, and entrepreneurs alike to help teach game development and share a wealth of digital and gaming insight.
Under the academy, four programs will be launched: Digital Meeting in Gaming, E-gaming Training Program, Young Developers’ Competition, Hackathon for hope. — SG
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