Dubai will stage Middle East’s first interschool e-Sports Tournament

Middle East

Meydan One and Galaxy Racer Esports announced the launch of Dubai’s first-ever Interschool Esports Tournament featuring FIFA ‘20 at Meydan Grandstand. The Tournament, running from 12 – 13 December, will be part of the 2019 Girl Gamer eSports Festival

Open to both boys and girls, the tournament will comprise two competitions played out over six-minute games of FIFA 20 – one for juniors aged six to 11, and one for seniors aged 12 to 16. The prizes will include scholarships worth AED255,000. The winner of the senior tournament will claim AED100,000, while the winner of the junior tournament walks away with AED70,000. Runners-up will receive AED50,000 and AED35,000 respectively.

Schools can sign up a maximum of two students for each competition. All participants will battle it out in a knockout tournament over the two days of the tournament. Registrations are now open.

The Interschool Esports Tournament is supported by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KDHA), 10X Media and the Dubai Sports Council. Combining their fields of expertise, these entities are seeking to transform Dubai into a gaming and esports hub where the industry can thrive.

Fahad Abdulrahim Kazim, Vice President of Meydan Malls, said: “By hosting Dubai’s first interschool esports tournament, we continue to build a platform that caters to the ever-evolving demands of a diverse customer base that craves the online entertainment experience.”

With two of the previous FIFA eWorld Cup winners hailing from the Middle East, the market and buzz around the EA Sports franchise, as well as its potential for business growth through the egaming vehicle, is immense. Abdulaziz Alsheri was the first-ever Saudi national to win the global competition, when he was crowned winner at the FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final in Munich, Germany, in 2015. In 2018, his countryman Mossad ‘MSdossary’ Aldossary won the first edition of the renamed FIFA eWorld Cup.

Hind Al Mualla, Chief of Creativity, Happiness and Innovation at Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), said: “We believe ‘responsible gaming’ is a way-forward for the industry and esports competitions provide a platform to bring people together. Gaming and esports are growing worldwide and we are excited to see a career-fair take place inside a gaming competition here in Dubai. This will definitely encourage students to go beyond their gaming routine and see how the industry can present a potential career.”

A career and education fair will take place on the sidelines of the Interschool Esports Tournament. Young, aspiring gamers and their parents will be able to explore career options in gaming and esports, while industry speakers and educators from prominent universities that offer degrees in gaming provide an overview of the gaming industry. The fair will also feature recruitment booths and stalls from gaming companies for visitors interested in exploring careers in gaming.

Abdulla Al Mansouri, Team Leader of 10X Media, said: “Technological development continues to redraw the world economic map with new developments that are generating fresh growth opportunities. At a time when esports is playing a pivotal role in the convergence of media, gaming, and entertainment, we are seeking to ride new waves of innovation and technology to ensure Dubai will be a leader in these sectors.

Speaking on the announcement, Khalid Al Awar, Director of Sports Events Department at Dubai Sports Council, said: “Dubai has emerged as one of the major incubators of innovation and future technology in the world thanks to the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“Implementing future technology has been one Dubai government’s strategic objectives and we at Dubai Sports Council, under the leadership of our Chairman HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, align our goals with the strategic objectives of the government.

“Hence, the esports movement is an area that we are seeking to pioneer and develop. It was a demonstration sport at the 2018 Asian Games and has really taken off in recent times. Given it’s pace of growth, esports will be a part of the Olympic Games sooner than later.

“So we are happy to support this first ever Interschool Esports Tournament, which reinforces Dubai’s reputation for being at the cutting edge of hosting sporting events and forging history.”

Paul Roy, CEO of Galaxy Racer Esports, said: “We have seen a huge shift towards esports, both globally and in the Middle East. By introducing these tournaments to the youth of Dubai, we are opening doors that could set up exciting futures. The gaming industry is the future of sports and entertainment. With close to US$140 billion in revenue last year, it is one of the highest revenue-generating industries, which means it can offer lucrative career options.

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