Dubai plans Middle East’s first esports stadium

The emirate wants to tap into a growing global esports scene



Dubai Media Office and free zone operator TECOM Group have announced plans for the Middle East’s first esports stadium.

The facility, part of the government’s 10X initiative, is intended to position Dubai as a global hub for hosting video gaming events.

The cost of the stadium was not revealed but Dubai Media Office said it was intended to tap into the $99.6bn global video game industry and a growing esport scene expected to be worth $1.5bn by 2020.

“We are living in a world where digital culture is reshaping all aspects of life, including sports. This has led us to develop the concept of Dubai X-Stadium, which will consolidate Dubai’s status as a key digital economy hub,” said Mona Ghanem Al Marri, director general of Dubai Media Office.

“The idea aims at attracting millions of esports gamers, spectators and enthusiasts from around the world and offering them unique on-line and in-person experiences.”

The growing popularity of online games and ability for gamers to easily live stream their performances over the internet has helped the previously niche esports scene to enter the mainstream.

Individuals and teams now compete for millions of dollars in prize and sponsorship money at major tournaments hosted by game developers and third parties.

Popular titles include team-based shooter Overwatch and battle arena games DOTA 2 and League of Legends.

The 10X initiative to position Dubai’s government departments 10 years ahead of their global peers has seen the unveiling of projects including plans to use rubbish for concrete and remove police officers from the streets.

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