Saudi Arabian fund that owns ESL and Riyadh Masters "is done making large investments into esports"

 

Saudi Arabian Savvy Games Group will not continue with huge esports investments, according to their CEO, Brian Ward. The company will focus more on mobile gaming, thinking that will bring them more profit. This was reported by Cecilia D'Anastasio and Christine Burke for Bloomberg.

Part of the state-owned Public Investment Fund, Savvy reportedly changed its priorities after their developer, Scopely, released Monopoly GO and earned the company over $1.5 billion in profit in 2023. This sum equals the amount Savvy paid to acquire ESL and FACEIT.

This news doesn't mean that Saudi Arabia abandons esports projects. PIF is currently building a $500-million "esports city" in Riyadh while also turning their Gamers8 game festival into Esports World Cup, an esports version of the Olympic Games. Just recently, they revealed they'd pay $60 mln in prize money across 19+ disciplines of the event. Last October, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman compared the industry to Hollywood.

Probably, Savvy won't make huge acquisitions like the ESL deal. We may also see a more moderate approach to spending money. After all, Savvy already decreased the Riyadh Masters prize pool from $15 mln it had last year to $5 mln in 2024.

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Riyadh Masters 2024

Start Date 2024-07-03
Prize Pool $ 5,000,000