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"Sportwashing": Why is Saudi Arabia taking over e-sports companies? | Israel today


The Middle East power aims to drive a profit in the field of profitable gaming with an investment of billions, but many factors are not happy with the kingdom's takeover of the human rights violation of the industry

An investment company called Savvy Gaming, which focuses on developing assets from the world of e-sports (esports) and is backed by the Saudi government, has acquired ESL - one of the oldest and largest e-sports entities in the world.

The purchase was made for a billion dollars.

Also, in a similar deal estimated at half a billion dollars, the investment company also took over FACEIT, an e-sports body that holds leagues and tournaments of multiplayer games like Counter Strike, League of Legends, Rocket League, Rainbow Six Siege and others.

• Excellent deals in the field of computing and electronics

Savvy Gaming Group, Photo: Logo

In other words, Saudi Arabia has recently invested $ 1.5 billion in e-sports platforms, and no doubt aims to drive a stake in this lucrative field, which is evolving year by year.

In 2021, for that matter, the value of the industry in the US alone was estimated at $ 1.08 billion - an increase of 50% compared to 2020.

This is not a new business.

In recent years, Savvy Gaming has invested about $ 3 billion in leading game distributors and developers, such as Activision-Blizzard (before being acquired by Microsoft for a huge sum), Electronic Arts and Take 2, but these companies are of course not owned by it.

Although these are perfectly legal deals, designed to expand the Middle East's revenue streams and prepare it for the day when oil runs out, critics of the phenomenon call it "sportswashing" - a tactic in which giant companies and even countries acquire leading sports teams for public relations. And luxury.

ESL, Photo: Logo

About three months ago, for example, Saudi Arabia, through a similar investment fund, acquired the English football club Newcastle United, a move that received a lot of negative resonance among fans due to the systematic way the country violates human rights, "but tries to beautify and obscure the situation by taking over a top football club. "This is according to a senior official at Amnesty International, an organization that works to promote human rights.

Thus, it is not inconceivable that the acquisition of ESL by Saudi Arabia is intended for the exact same purposes - this time only on the sports-digital level, and not on the lawn itself.

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Source: israelhayom

All tech articles on 2022-01-25

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