Having been dismissed as nothing more than a passing phenomenon during its early years, the eSports industry has become one of the biggest success stories of the 21st century.
North America and Europe are recognised as eSports powerhouses, but the position at the top of the tree has increasingly been threatened in recent times.
The sector has made massive strides in several other jurisdictions worldwide, with the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) and Asia leading the charge.
A recent report by market research firm Niko Partners highlighted that point to perfection, with MENA and Asia accounting for over 56% of global eSports revenue in 2022.
Increased interest from sponsors and broadcasters is fuelling the growth, keeping the industry on track to be worth over $2 billion by the end of this decade.
Read on as we take a closer look at some of the latest eSports developments in MENA and Asia, starting with an exciting new link-up with the gambling industry.
Talon teams up with top betting brand
Hong-Kong based eSports organisation Talon recently announced a partnership with online bookmaker 1XBET, putting themselves alongside some other major global brands.
The well-established betting firm will be Talon’s main partner for its Dota 2 division in their latest venture into the burgeoning world of eSports.
The company has forged extremely strong links with the eSports sector, offering odds on major leagues and tournaments throughout the year.
They are among a handful of sites that accept players from the Middle East, with 1XBET betting in Arabic one of the most popular platforms operating in the region.
In addition to their affiliation with the eSports industry, 1XBET has strong links with several traditional sports organisations including Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona.
“We’re delighted to be able to announce this partnership with 1XBET,” said Talon Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sean Zhang.
“They have already shown an immense commitment to eSports and we are excited to be able to contribute together to the continued growth of eSports.
SPORTFIVE inks deal with the Saudi eSports Federation
Sports and eSports agency SPORTFIVE is once again set to work with the Saudi eSports Federation (SEF) to provide them with strategic sales support and project management services.
They will be the primary partnership agency for the upcoming Gamers8: The Land of Heroes eSports festival, which takes place in Riyadh this summer.
SPORTFIVE previously partnered with SEF last year and will now widen the scope of their work to develop lucrative new investors and sponsors for the organisation.
Gamers8: The Land of Heroes has a mind-boggling prize pool of $45 million – a figure which highlights Saudi Arabia’s desire to become a big hitter in eSports.
Alexis Barrassin, Senior Director of Esports & Gaming MENA at SPORTFIVE, said: “We are committed to building a long-lasting partnership with SEF and leveraging our collective expertise to deliver exceptional service to the biggest stakeholders in Saudi Arabia.
“This partnership continues to strengthen our position in the region, and we are excited to explore new opportunities and innovative ideas that will benefit both organisations.”
Galaxy Racer & RTE merge to become Celestial
Digital media entertainment company Riva Technology and Entertainment has merged with multinational eSports organisation Galaxy Racer (GXR).
The newly formed company will be called ‘Celestial’ and will attempt to become a dominant sports and media conglomerate.
The firm will initially focus its efforts on the MENA and Indian sub-continent regions, before expanding its footprint globally over the coming years.
The merger is designed to consolidate each firm’s expertise under one umbrella, allowing Celestial to ‘unlock untapped synergies’ and boost future sales.
Galaxy has established a strong presence in women’s eSports, which is widely viewed as an largely untapped market ripe for significant expansion.
Paul Roy, Founder and CEO of GXR and Founder, Managing Director and CEO of RTE said: “As Celestial takes shape, both companies are primed to leverage their collective strengths, capitalise on emerging opportunities, and shape the future of the media and sports industry.
“The rebranded holding company shall set its sights on spearheading innovation, engaging audiences and leaving an indelible mark on the rapidly evolving landscape.”