ESL FACEIT Group (EFG) announced Friday that the 2024 ESL Pro Tour Championship will take place at the Esports World Cup in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this summer. StarCraft II is just one of several games that will be part of the multi-title, multi-week-long esports and gaming festival being put on by the Esports World Cup Foundation—many of which are still to be announced.
Eighteen (18) of the world’s best StarCraft II players will compete in a five-day tournament, for a a to-be-announced prize pool, with Joona “Serral” Sotala and Clément “Clem” Desplanches being chosen as the first players to join the main event in Riyadh thanks to their victories at the ESL SC2 Masters Summer and Winter. The upcoming events, IEM Katowice and ESL Masters Spring at DreamHack Dallas 2024 (or through regional EPT standings), will serve as direct qualifiers to the finals in Riyadh.
The news isn’t surprising, given that ESL FACEIT Group is a subsidiary of Savvy Games Group, which is owned by the Saudi Government and backed by the nation’s Public Investment Fund. The Esports World Cup Foundation is also backed by the PIF and its mission statement is to bring major championship-caliber events into the country to generate revenue for the kingdom.
The announcement by Team Vitality earlier this week also makes more sense in the context of today’s news; earlier this week the French esports organization announced that it had partnered with South Korean StarCraft II team ONSYDE. The roster featuring StarCraft II players Kang “Solar” Min-soo, Cho “Maru” Seong-ju, Kim “Ryung” Dong-won and coach Choi “CranK” Jae-won, will compete at the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice on Feb. 8. But the new partnership also means that the Esports World Cup Program will give Team Vitality some compensation for fielding a new roster to compete at the event in Riyadh (we’ll have more on the Esports World Cup Program soon).