On the heels of signing a “Memorandum of Understanding” to work together at the Riyadh 2023 Global Esports Games in December (which followed a “Memorandum of Intent” signed in November), The International Esports Federation (IESF) and the Global Esports Federation (GEF) announced on Wednesday that the two organizations have formed the Esports Leadership Group (ELG).
The ELG will be chaired by International Olympic Committee Vice President Ser Miang Ng, with participation from IESF President HRH Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud and GEF President Chris Chan. The goal of this new group is to create “a series of working teams focusing on implementing the principles outlined in the MoU into a set of tangible initiatives,” according to a release. On the IOC’s involvement, Ser Miang Ng said the following:
“We are entering an exciting phase in the development of esports, including the recent announcement by the IOC on the Olympic Esports Games, and diverse content being offered around the world. The collaboration of efforts and work between GEF and IESF will contribute to the global development of esports and the prospect of collaborating with the International Olympic Committee and sports.
“The bridging of esports and sports will create limitless opportunities for young people around the world, capitalizing on the innovation of esports and the values of sports. It is my privilege and pleasure to work with HRH Prince Faisal and Chris Chan on this exciting endeavor.”
It has long been rumored that the GEF and IESF would eventually merge into one organization, but over the last several months sources have been telling The Esports Advocate that—with HRH Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud’s involvement in GEF as a vice president and as the president of the IESF—this goal is a lot closer to becoming a reality. The IOC’s involvement also falls in line with the country’s goal of becoming an important destination for international esports events which could become part of the Esports World Cup that takes place in the Summer.
These efforts to cooperate also dovetail into the Saudi government’s other efforts to bring international tourism to the region, with revenue being generated at its mega-city entertainment and resort destination projects such as Qiddiya and NEOM.