$1m Free Fire tournament to take place at the Esports World Cup

22 February 2024

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Free Fire Esports World Cup
Image credit: Esports World Cup

Game publisher Garena has announced its participation in Saudi Arabian government-backed Esports World Cup (EWC) with a $1m (~£788,600) Free Fire tournament.

From July 10th to 14th, 18 teams will compete in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for a lion’s share of the prize pool and the chance to qualify for November’s 2024 Free Fire World Series Global Finals.

ESI Lisbon 2024

Teams may qualify for the event through five local Free Fire tournaments and ESL’s Free Fire Snapdragon Pro Series. The event’s three days will feature a knockout stage, with 12 teams proceeding to the Finals over the following two days.

The winner will earn a ticket to the largest tournament of the Free Fire competitive calendar, the Free Fire World Series Global Finals, which will take place in Brazil this year. Its 2021 edition is known as the second most-watched esports event in history, garnering 5.4m peak viewers.

The EWC is a multi-title esports festival organised yearly by the newly-founded Esports World Cup Foundation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, initially announced the event in October 2023. Its inaugural edition will take place in Summer of this year.

Saudi Arabia’s increased involvement in esports has been the subject of criticism due to the country’s human rights record, specifically in regard to women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and censorship. As another major initiative in Saudi Arabia’s esports strategy, the EWC has met similar concerns in the esports community.

Free Fire is a mobile battle royale game published by Garena in 2017. As a global games developer and publisher, Garena hosts esports tournaments and provides exclusive licenses for partners, such as Call of Duty: Mobile, in selected markets worldwide. The company has previously worked with Brazilian agency 3C Gaming, retail business Casas Bahia, and digital wallet platform Wallet Codes.

With the upcoming Esports World Cup: Free Fire, Garena has joined a growing list of publishers and esports competitions to take part in the EWC. The esports festival will feature StarCraft II and Counter-Strike 2 tournaments as well as Mobile Legends’ Mid Season Cup and the Dota 2 Riyadh Masters 2024.

Most recently, game publisher Level Infinite announced the Honor of Kings Invitational Midseason, a $3m (~£2.37m) event joining the EWC.  

Lea Maas
Lea is a business student with too many passions and too little time. In addition to missing her shots in Valorant, she spends her free time advocating for mental health awareness and fostering inclusive esports communities.