International Esports Federation to expand into the Middle East

The regional Esports segment has seen strong growth in recent months



Esports is set to expand across the Middle East with Korean non-profit International Esports Federation (IESF) recently announcing plans to enter the region.

IESF has signed an memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UAE’s Motivate Media Group, parent company of Gulf Business, to expand regionally.

Currently, the Esports category has over 300 million gamers across the Middle East alone.

“IESF is really excited to be collaborating with Motivate to establish a number of world-class Esports products that represents an important step in supporting Esports growth in the UAE, the Middle East and globally,” said Colin Webster, president of the IESF.

IESF pursues the promotion of Esports as a “true sport” and has nine founding nations with memberships available across more than 56 countries.

“Artificial Intelligence will have a considerable impact in all aspects of life, and sport is no exception. By providing thought leadership to AI in Sport, this will clearly help shape future policy and its applications for a better world,” added Webster.

The agreement comes ahead of the Esports industry summit and consumer exhibition scheduled for 2020, backed by the IESF, Dubai Sports Council and the Emirates Esports Association.

Dubai Media Office and free zone operator TECOM Group also recently announced plans for the Middle East’s first Esports stadium in Dubai, in line with the government’s 10X initiative to position the emirate as a global video gaming hub.

Read: Dubai plans Middle East’s first esports stadium

The UAE will also host the Girl Gamer Esports Festival – the world’s largest women’s Esports event – for the first time in December, with a multi-day tournament at Meydan One in Dubai. At least 20 million people are expected to watch the livestream of the tournament.

Read more: The rise of sports tourism in the Middle East