English football club Newcastle United has announced a partnership with VOV Gaming, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian esports and gaming company Savvy Games Group.
The deal will see VOV help the club build its esports presence, in addition to increasing engagement within the Saudi Arabian market.
Beyond building a presence in esports and the Saudi market, details on what the partnership entails were not disclosed. VOV Gaming is a games company that is building experiential gaming venues across the world, according to its website.
The partnership follows a Saudi-led consortium purchasing Newcastle United in October 2021. That deal — led by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, which fully owns Savvy Games Group — resulted in Newcastle United becoming the richest football club in the world.
Throughout 2022, the Saudi Arabian esports market has undergone rapid investment and expansion. In September, the Saudi Crown Price launched a national esports and gaming strategy that aims to make the country ‘the global hub’ for both markets by 2030.
The month of September also saw Savvy Games Group reveal SAR 142bn (~£34.5bn; $37.9bn) investment plans that included purchasing a leading game publisher, alongside broader esports investments. In January, the group bought ESL and FACEIT for $1.5bn (~£1.1bn) and merged them into the ESL FACEIT Group. The Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which owns Savvy Games Group, is part of the consortium that pur
Newcastle United joins an extensive list of football clubs already involved in esports. The likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal field rosters in eFootball and FIFA while players including Jesse Lingard and David de Gea have launched their own organisations.
Peter Silverstone, Chief Commercial Officer at Newcastle United, spoke on the deal: “Working with VOV will allow us to engage with Newcastle United fans via the popularity of esports and gaming in Saudi Arabia.”
“Our collaboration with VOV will provide an exciting platform for our fans to engage with. VOV will also lend their knowledge and expertise to the club in Saudi Arabia where we continue to expand the club’s fan base as one of the country’s most supported Premier League football clubs. Saudi Arabia has a young, digitally engaged population and our collaboration with VOV will enhance our efforts to reach this important audience.”