Saudi Arabia’s Savvy Games Group, which is owned by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has announced investing $265 million in VSPO, a Chinese esports start-up specialised in tournaments, venues, and production.
With this investment, Savvy Games became the VSPO’s single largest equity holder.
The two companies said the deal symbolises a landmark commercial partnership between China, the world’s biggest esports market, and Saudi Arabia, as it implements Vision 2030 to become a leading global hub for gaming and esports.
The companies said this investment will support VSPO (formerly VSPN) to develop the rapidly growing global esports sector for the benefit of the global esports community. The goal is to position Savvy as a key enabler along the games value chain, creating more opportunities for participation and progression across gender, geography, means and ability.
Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, vice chairman of Savvy Games Group, said that Savvy Games envisioned a thriving global esports sector with a vibrant, talented, and dynamic community at its core, and we appreciate the immense opportunities for this industry, especially in the Kingdom with such a young population of approximately 23.5 million enthusiasts.
“This investment is one part of the ambitious plan that will enable and support the esports ecosystem in Saudi Arabia. Attracting international companies to Saudi Arabia through investments and partnerships will contribute to providing skills, knowledge transfer and building capabilities in the whole ecosystem,” he added.
It may be recalled that Savvy acquired ESL, its subsidiary DreamHack and FACEIT, three of the largest tournament operators in the West in 2022. The VSPO’s acquisition will allow Savvy to extend the reach of its events into China and other growing markets like Malaysia.
Savvy’s long-term investment will help VSPO continue to deliver on its global strategy and accelerate the growth of mobile esports with a particular focus on Saudi Arabia. VSPO will also use this funding to invest in new technology to further enhance the fan experience.
Brian Ward, CEO of Savvy Games Group, said that this was a significant strategic investment for Savvy in one of Asia’s pre-eminent esports organizations.
He said: “The transaction marks the biggest cash investment ever made in an esports organization and shows our confidence in the potential of this fast-growing sector. Through Savvy’s investments, we are seeking to play a significant role in the sustainable growth and development of the global gaming industry, which will enable technology innovators like VSPO to facilitate broader, more equitable access to the dynamic esports market.”
“This is a significant transaction for Savvy and gives us a major foothold in the important Asia region. We are looking forward to diversifying our geographic footprint alongside VSPO, a leading player in the world’s biggest esports market. This investment is part of our long-term commitment to growing a thriving global esports community and further position Saudi Arabia as a leading global hub for games and esports,” he added.
The transaction is expected to close in the coming months, subject to the receipt of required regulatory clearances and approvals and the satisfaction of other closing conditions.
Dino Ying, CEO and Founder of VSPO said: “This is an exciting time in the global esports industry, and we are delighted to be working with Savvy to grow the sector worldwide. We believe we can take this industry to the next level and deliver our aligned vision, bringing communities together through esports. This historic investment will strengthen our ambitious global strategy, with a particular focus on Asia and the Middle East where we will support Savvy’s vision to grow esports throughout this incredibly dynamic and young region.”