BLAST Pro Series event showcases Bahrain’s new public private partnership model for e-sports
The MENA region is home to the world's most active gaming community – a market set to triple in size to $4.4 billion by 2022
A new public private partnership (PPP) model rolled-out by the Bahrain government is changing the face of sports in the Kingdom, and promises to accelerate the growth of gaming in Bahrain and across the region.
In a first for the region Bahrain has partnered with the BLAST Pro Series CS:Go global final under a special PPP framework that encourages greater collaboration between the state and private entertainment franchises. The event, starting in Manama, is a globally-renowned two-day esports tournament bringing together the world’s best players of the enormously popular multiplayer first-person shooter video game.
The CS:Go global final - the largest esports event to be held in the region to date, has been made possible by the new PPP arrangement between Bahrain’s Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs and BLAST Pro Series. The partnership represents the first use of a PPP to tap into the region’s billion-dollar gaming industry that is growing twice as fast as the global average. It also provides a means of promoting the fast-growing MENA gaming sector to the larger gaming community and key stakeholders ranging from investors to developers.
At 25% year-on-year growth, it is the fastest growing online gaming population in the world (compared to 13.9% in Latin America, 9.2% in the Asia Pacific, four per cent in North America and 4.8% in Western Europe). Gaming revenues in the GCC alone stood at more than a billion dollars in 2016 and that number has continued to grow. Some 30% of the GCC population play digital games, and gamers aged 18-24 (50% of MENA’s population are under 25) are spending an average of eight hours per week on consoles.
H.E. Ayman Tawfiq Almoayyed, Bahrain’s Minister of Youth and Sports Affairs, said: “We are delighted to have partnered with Blast Pro Series in a truly novel way to host the CS:Go global final. This is an excellent way to push the thriving MENA gaming market onto the world stage, and demonstrate why hyper-connected, tech-driven Bahrain is the perfect launchpad from which to access it.”
Robbie Douek, CEO of BLAST Pro Series, said: “Bahrain’s innovative approach to partnering with us is a reflection of their modern and vibrant tech scene and their growing contribution to the region’s gaming market. It’s hard to think of a more fitting venue for BLAST Pro Series CS:Go global final.”
Bahrain is an Ideal test bed for gaming, with strong market conditions created by a flexible regulatory system, the rollout of commercial 5G and an ever-strengthening tech ecosystem – with the Kingdom ranked first in the MENA region for ICT readiness by the World Economic Forum.