The Saudi Esports Federation has launched Gamers8 Club Awards, a fund to reward esports organisations competing at its esports festival Gamers8.
The fund will distribute a total of $5m (~£4m) in prize money to esports organisations that place well across multiple titles at the festival.
The rewards are in addition to the festival’s record-breaking $45m (~£38m) prize pool, which is split between several esports tournaments taking place at the Saudi Esports Federation-run festival.
Gamers8 consists of competitions in CS:GO, Dota 2, Rocket League, Rainbow Six Siege, StarCraft 2, Fortnite and Tekken 7, and is taking place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, starting July 6th.
The Gamers8 Club Awards will use a points-based system to award clubs participating in multiple Gamers8 tournaments.
Teams competing in at least two titles will receive points for their respective finishes, in turn unlocking rewards based on the total amount of points accumulated throughout the eight-week festival.
The 1st-placed organisation will receive $1.5m and 50 points, the 2nd-placed organisation $1.1m and 35 points, scaling all the way down to 8th place ($100,000 and 2 points).
The Saudi Esports Federation has yet to disclose the significance of the points that teams will gain for placing in the Gamers8 Club Awards initiative, though a release stated eligible teams will unlock additional performance-based awards and opportunities. Esports Insider has reached out for clarification.
The Saudi Esports Federation said the The Gamers8 Club Awards was an attempt to incentivise investment and stoke collaboration between clubs, teams, organisers and publishers.
It claimed the rewards scheme was part of Saudi Arabia’s mission to invest in the entire esports sector, rather than just events. The initiative also aims to boost the Kingdom’s efforts to grow the overall esports industry.
The Club Awards ceremony will be held at the end of the eight-week Gamers8 season at the Next World Forum, a B2B gaming and esports forum held in August. The ceremony will be livestreamed from the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh and will present the top winning teams, as well as additional awards for individual and team-based categories.
The $5m scheme is the latest in a string of large-sum investments by Saudi Arabia into the esports ecosystem. The Saudi Esports Federation is chaired by Saudi royal HRH Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, who also acts as Vice Chairman of Savvy Games Group, which unveiled sweeping $38bn (~£34.5bn) investment plans in September 2022.
Despite its cash injection into the esports industry, Saudi Arabia’s government-led involvement in esports has sparked controversy over the country’s human rights record, particularly the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ stance, treatment of women, and squashing of dissent.
Esports organisation Moist Esports’ Rocket League team boycotted the inaugural Gamer8 event last year in protest of the country’s severe anti-LGBTQ+ policies.