Major esports district planned in Saudi Arabia

The Qiddiya City Esports Arena (Images courtesy of Populous)
Qiddiya City, a planned project on the outskirts of Riyadh, will contain the world’s first gaming and electronic sports (esports) district, complete with four stadiums, containing 73,000 seats.

Announced last week, the Qiddiya Gaming and Esports District will feature the Qiddiya City Esports Arena, a 5,155-seat venue designed by US-headquartered architect Populous.

Populous said the arena will offer the best sightlines and views for audiences, with a “digital chandelier” in the middle of the seating bowl showing spectators the matches.

The venue will have the biggest combined video screen area of any esports arena in the world, and 4D haptic seats that let fans feel and even smell the action taking place, the architect said.

The 500,000-sq-m esports district will be home to up to 25 esports clubs and 30 video game companies. It will also contain 100,000-sq-m of retail, dining and entertainment venues. It aims to attract up to 10 million visitors a year.

Research by Populous and YouGov in 2022 found that 29% of Saudi Arabians are interested in esports, with growth of 250% expected in the kingdom’s gaming market over the next eight years.

Elsewhere in the esports sector, Populous has designed a 7,000-capacity arena planned in Toronto, a 6,000-capacity esports arena, hotel, and virtual skydiving venue in Shanghai, and a 3,500-capacity venue in Philadelphia.

Plans for Qiddiya City were announced in 2017, with Bouygues winning a $1bn contract in 2021 to build a Six Flags theme park in the district, with Atkins acting as consultant.

Further Reading:

Story for GCR? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in News