The Saudi Esports Federation has announced a three-year partnership with American fast food company KFC.
The partnership will focus on supporting local esports talent in the region by providing more opportunities to advance to international esports events. Moreover, a release added that the agreement will support women’s esports initiatives through the First Female Saudi E-League.
The partnership was announced during the Next World Forum, an esports business conference that took place directly after Gamers8 in Riyadh.
Interestingly, the deal seems to have a very large scope and aims to directly influence the grassroots esports scene in Saudi Arabia. The two parties announced that a series of events and ‘challenge-based initiatives’ will take place during the next three years, and the initiatives will serve to offer players a direct pathway into SEF’s esports development programmes and ultimately its esports scene.
KFC and the SEF also noted the launch of the “First Female Saudi E-League,” a women-only esports league that will commence in the country. The top performing team from the league will enter an accelerator programme created by SEF and KFC, and ultimately provide the best players with a spot at Gamers8 competitions in 2024.
Details surrounding what titles will be played and when the league will officially commence have not been revealed.
In addition, KFC and the SEF will also create streamed content through SEF’s programme Voices of Saudi Esports. KFC will work with the SEF to create content that will be supported by activations, discounts and promotions organised by the restaurant chain.
The Saudi Esports Federation is a regulating body that aims to bolster the country’s esports and gaming ecosystem. It comes amid Saudi Arabia’s continued growth and influence over the gaming and esports market, which has sparked controversy over ‘esportswashing’ claims, its current laws on LGBTQ+ communities and Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
Ahmed Albishri, Deputy CEO at the Saudi Esports Federation, commented on the partnership: “By nurturing emerging talents, promoting gender equality in gaming, and providing engaging content, this collaboration marks a significant stride towards building a robust gaming ecosystem in the Kingdom. The Saudi Esports Federation and PLAY KFC are set to reshape the esports landscape in Saudi Arabia through this dynamic partnership”.