Riot Games taking US$2m League of Legends event to Saudi Arabia

‘The Nexus’ will offer record MENA region prize pool for an esports tournament.

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Video games developer Riot Games is to become the latest rights holder from the world of sports and entertainment to stage an event in Saudi Arabia.

Taking place in Riyadh from 5th to 7th December, ‘The Nexus’ will be the company’s first League of Legends esports competition in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). It will form part of the Riyadh Season, an initiative by the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) designed to make the country a recognised tourist and entertainment destination.

The three-day event will see a total prize pool of US$2 million distributed across six competitions, representing the biggest prize money on offer for a competitive gaming tournament in the MENA region.

As well as gaming tournaments, the event will feature experiential zones and live concerts, with organisers expecting a total audience of 30,000.

Onur Tamer, METAI general manager at Riot Games, said: “We opened our offices in the region over a year ago. Since then, we have been working on ways to deliver local experiences to our communities and players across the MENA region. The Nexus is our first step in solidifying our presence in the region to support and celebrate our players.

“The launch of the Nexus festival is just one part of our plan to increase our presence in the MENA region. We are also looking at rolling out Arabic language support for all our products starting next year along with a localised version of League of Legends for all our players.”

The event will be taking place on the same weekend as British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua’s world title fight against Andy Ruiz Jr. Other sporting events that have recently been confirmed for Saudi Arabia include a new international tennis tournament and a five-stage cycling race organised by Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), which is also moving the Dakar Rally to the country from next year. 

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