Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Saudi company Savvy Gaming buys ESL and FACEIT for $1.5 billion

Saudi Arabia is pushing further into the gaming market by acquiring the largest and oldest esports organization in the world. Savvy Gaming, an investment company backed by the Saudi Arabian government’s Public Investment Fund, has just bought ESL for $1 billion.

The public investment fund was created by the Saudi government to turn the country away from oil as its main industry. With plenty of oil money to burn and a thriving industry, the PIF helped Savvy Gaming invest in the esports market. Savvy will be managed by Brian Ward, a former senior vice president at Activision Blizzard.

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ESL was founded in 2000 in Cologne, Germany. The first official esports league and widely regarded as the largest in the world, the ESL organizes tournaments for games such as Dota 2, CS:GO, Call of Duty, League of Legends, Rainbow Six Siege, World of Tanks, Rocket League and more. The ESL Pro League has 34 official teams, with the organization supporting 600 employees.



The purchase announcement was first reported by the German news agency Handelsblatt and includes another purchase from Savvy. FACEIT, another e-sports tournament organizer, was bought for $500 million. ESL and FACEIT will merge under Savvy as ESL FACEIT Group.

“Whether you’re competing or watching, doing it on a social or professional level, every step of the way is enhanced by this merger,” said ESL CEO Craig Levine in a prepared statement. “For gamers, publishers and partners, this is an extremely exciting offering to take everyone on their journey from their first step in competition to playing on the largest esports stages around the world.”

The purchase is not without controversy. The numerous human rights violations in Saudi Arabia have led to accusations:sportswear“,” especially after the PIFs Purchase of the British Premier League football team Newcastle United. The PIF controls $500 billion in assets with interests in EA, Take-Two Interactive and Activision Blizzard.

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