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Saudi Arabia League of Legends Event Planned with $2M in Esports Prizes

by Graham Ashton

Mentioned in this article

  • Riot Games will host a three-day League of Legends event in Saudi Arabia, featuring six competitions with a combined $2M USD prize pool.
  • The event is part of the Riyadh Season, a city-wide festival including international music performances and sporting events.
  • Riot will roll out of a localized version of League of Legends for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in 2020.

Riot Games has announced its first League of Legends event in the MENA region, which will include an $850K prize pool tournament. Taking place in Saudi Arabia’s capital city of Riyadh, “The Nexus” is expected to attract an audience of 30,000 and will run between Dec. 5-7.

The esports portion of the event will include the aforementioned $850K five-versus-five tournament, plus a $750K competition featuring the region’s most well-known gaming influencers. Separate one-versus-one, Teamfight Tactics and cosplay competitions will distribute a combined $400K prize pool. 

Qualifiers for the main tournament began in November, spread across 13 countries in the MENA region. As well as esports and gaming attractions, The Nexus will showcase concerts featuring DJ Mako, Crystal Method, and Jason Derulo. 

“The launch of the Nexus festival is just one part of our plan to increase our presence in the MENA region,” said Onur Tamer, METAI general manager at Riot Games, in a statement. The company opened its first offices in the region last year. “We are also looking at rolling out Arabic language support for all our products starting next year along with a localized version of League of Legends for all our players.”

The Nexus is part of the Riyadh Season, a festival set up by the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) to promote the country as a tourism hub. This year’s program features other gaming events, including a PUBG Mobile tournament and a version of the UK-originated gaming festival Insomnia, plus a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) event, boxing world title match, and a performance by Korean pop group BTS—the first-ever stadium-concert by non-Arabic artists in the kingdom. 

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