Leading esports brands, athletes and celebrities have predominantly focused on engaging with esports communities across South East Asia, North America and Europe.
The Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region’s potential, meanwhile, arguably remains largely untapped. This is despite the fact that MENA is one of the fastest-growing esports ecosystems in the world — counting around 100 million gamers in 2020.
Moreover, according to a recent study by YouGov, the Middle East is quickly evolving from casual gaming to virtual reality games and competitive esports.
The United Arab Emirates ranks amongst the top 10 global markets for YouTube Gaming, based on awareness and engagement, which is even higher than some highly esports-aware European nations.
This could mean audiences in these areas are more likely to embrace esports tournaments and competitions — once they know more about them — hinting at a bright future for the sector.
To learn more about MENA’s esports potential and how Galaxy Racer and Team Nigma plan to ‘conquer’ the region, Esports Insider spoke with Paul Roy, CEO of Galaxy Racer.
Why MENA and why now?
Since the pandemic hit the world, there’s been growing awareness about esports and a shift towards local community building, especially in emerging regions.
Companies, brands and organisations in MENA have become more aware and educated about the esports industry and have started to understand its potential — including the value it brings to companies’ overall marketing and brand strategy.
“Esports was one of the only few industries that was not heavily impacted during the pandemic and was on the radar of many senior executives who were looking to pivot their brand messaging campaigns from offline