RIYADH — The Saudi E-Sports Federation has announced that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will host for the second consecutive year the international charity initiative “Gamers Without Borders”, which will be held between June 7 and Aug. 8, 2021, with total awards of $10 million that will be donated to support efforts to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The world’s biggest charity esports festival Gamers Without Borders brings with it another $10million in the fight against COVID-19 and a summer of unmissable live action for gamers across the planet.
Gamers Without Borders will be donating that sum and more as it unites the gaming world in its second extravaganza of esports entertainment, all aimed at helping those in the most desperate need during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This will be done through donating the total amount of the event to the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), which, for its part, will offer the donation to international stakeholders that contribute to providing vaccines to those countries worldwide.
In cooperation with the pioneering company in the esports field ESL, this year’s edition of the biggest charity event in the e-sports games at the international level is held under the motto: “One World: One Body” with the aim of helping needy countries to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
The online festival’s $10million charity prize-fund will once again be fought over in Gamers Without Border’s six-week elite series, where the best gamers on the planet will go head-to-head on titles including Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, Fortnite, Rocket League, PUBG MOBILE and CS:GO.
All shares of the charity cash they win will go directly towards vaccine distribution in the world’s poorest countries — with all the action playing out live from the festival’s unique virtual studio, to be broadcast in seven different languages to a truly global audience.
Gamers Without Borders’ community tournaments — a free-for-all battleground for gamers of all abilities — also return, with daily marathon and play-and-go tournaments across the above games, plus the likes of Overwatch, Tekken 7, NBA2K and Call of Duty. The first contest gets under way on June 7.
Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Sultan is chairman of the Saudi Esports Federation, who are behind the gaming festival — which is organized in partnership with European esports giants, ESL.
He said: “We truly believe in the power of gaming and esports. We know what gamers can do when they unite behind a cause — and there is no bigger global cause than fighting this virus. It is important to understand that even with vaccines rolling out in developed nations, millions of others face the possibility of not being vaccinated for months or maybe years.
“Our mission is ‘No One Left Behind’. We want to connect, inspire and entertain the international gaming community to ensure we leave no one behind in supporting the world’s ongoing recovery from COVID-19. We will be bringing the biggest names, elite teams, epic titles, and brand-new gaming experiences to excite fans across the globe.
“Gamers Without Borders is a virtual festival for all — an open invitation to show that no matter your background or nationality, gaming and esports truly transcends borders as a positive force for good.”
In its debut last year, Gamers Without Borders smashed all expectations, attracting 460,000 gamers from 141 countries to 200,000+ community matches, and a streaming audience of more than 14million to its elite series action.
Its $10million prize-fund was shared between charities including UNICEF, Gavi, Direct Relief and the International Medical Corps, and went directly to supporting efforts on the frontline of COVID-19, such as providing life-saving health supplies, water and hygiene facilities, and keeping young people connected to education and protection amidst the pandemic.
UNICEF returns as one of Gamers Without Borders partner charities for this summer’s festival.
Carla Haddad Mardini, director of UNICEF’s Division for Private Fundraising and Partnerships, said: “UNICEF is leading the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation ever undertaken in delivering two billion COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the year.
“We are grateful to the winners of the first Gamers Without Borders edition last year who donated their prize money to help us continue to accelerate and respond to COVID-19 immediate needs. We would be delighted if this year’s winners would also donate to UNICEF to help us get COVID-19 vaccines to those that need them most.”
As well as near-constant gaming action across its nine weeks, Gamers Without Borders is this year elevating its accompanying entertainment schedule, with everything from magazine-style review and analysis streams, to talk shows, live comedy and even live concerts.
After hosting the likes of Snoop Dogg, Liam Payne, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dele Alli and Paulo Dybala in 2020, gamers can expect this summer’s event to continue with similar A-list appearances, with virtual fan meet-and-greets lined-up too.
The festival’s Learning Hub will also return; a series of free-to-all training programs aimed at those wanting to develop a career in gaming, organised in partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT), beginning June 14.
Team-wise, expect the biggest franchises in esports, all of whom fans will be able to watch live and, in the process, donate money to the cause.
The “Gamers without Borders” initiative will kick off through audience competitions on June 7, where those willing to register have to visit the website of the tournament on www.gamerswithoutborders.com, where the elite competitions date will be announced later. All events of the global charity event can be seen live on the initiative website and tournament platforms on Facebook, Twitch and Youtube. — SG