The Esports World Cup has announced that the Dota 2 Riyadh Masters 2024 will join this year’s multi-title esports festival in Saudi Arabia.
While the initial announcement did not reveal many details, it has been shared that the event will be held in July and will feature 20 Dota 2 teams.
To qualify for Riyadh Masters, teams must earn points throughout the 2024 ESL Pro Tour (EPT) season. Eight teams may enter through the EPT Leaderboard, while twelve will be selected in regional qualifiers. The qualifiers will be held during May and June. The event’s prize pool is yet to be revealed.
Organised by ESL and the Saudi Esports Federation, the Dota 2 Riyadh Masters is a yearly tier-1 competition. Last year’s edition saw impressive viewership, with 587,000 peak viewers and a $15m (~£12m) prize pool. The tournament was used to be part of the Saudi Arabia-backed esports festival Gamers8. However, Gamers8 has made way for the country’s latest esports project: the Esports World Cup.
The Esports World Cup is set to be yearly multi-title esports festival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The project was announced by the country’s Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, in October 2023. Its inaugural edition will be held in Summer of this year.
Although many specifics about the World Cup remain unknown, Ralf Reichert, CEO of the Esports World Cup Foundation, previously told Esports Insider about the ambitious prize pool and double-figure title list of the event.
Moreover, several titles have been announced since the start of the year. StarCraft 2 and Counter-Strike 2 tournaments, as well as the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Mid Season Cup, will be featured at the festival. The Esports World Cup Foundation also launched a programme to support esports teams and organisations, including a ‘six-figure payout’.
As with all news related to the increasing involvement of Saudi Arabia in esports, the Esports World Cup has been met with criticism from the esports community. Some commentators have labelled the country’s strategy ‘esportswashing’, claiming that Saudi Arabia aims to distract from its public image concerning its human rights record, notably towards LGBTQ+ and Women’s rights.