BLAST Premier World Final 2022 to Put Abu Dhabi on the Global eSports Scene


Charlotte Kenny, the Managing Director of BLAST, speaks about the upcoming BLAST Premier World Final 2022

How big is the esports community in the Middle East and Africa region?
Globally, gaming and esports are going from strength to strength with the industry enjoying continued growth, and this year alone over 261 million people will consume esports content with that number expected to grow to over 218 million in 2025. We’re also seeing this impressive growth mirrored in the Middle East and the UAE, which is one of the fastest-growing esports and gaming markets in the world.

According to a report in 2022, the UAE topped a global survey with 90 percent of adults playing video games and 23 percent being frequent gamers. There is no doubt there is currently an active and passionate community of gamers in the Middle East, which will only grow in the years to come as more premium esports and gaming events are hosted in the region.

What prompted the organisers to conduct BLAST Premier in the UAE?
The overarching ambition with BLAST Premier is to take our events to all parts of the world while uniting fans through their shared love of CS:GO – having hosted tournaments in a number of iconic cities including the likes of London and Copenhagen to Miami and Sao Paulo. Abu Dhabi makes for the ideal location to host this year’s World Final, with a passionate and constantly growing esports community and a world-leading venue in the Etihad Arena. We are looking forward to ending the year in style with the first-ever major esports event to be hosted in the Middle East.

What according to you is missing in terms of eSports participation of local/regional teams when compared with the participation in global editions of your events?
Surrounding support and development structures for talent and players is an area that needs further focus and resources, this can be in the form of amateur leagues, collegiate activities, academy programmes, and other pathways for players to become professionals. This stronger grassroots infrastructure and the increased accessibility will only help drive sustainability and long-term success for esports regionally and internationally.

In which areas can the regional eSports teams and key stakeholders improve?
The more regional opportunities we can build, the greater the number of opportunities for players and talent to develop and showcase their skills the better. Regional esports play a key role in community engagement and cohesiveness – they bring people together and can be easier to identify and relate to, which inspires more people to participate and become involved.

Stakeholders, such as our partner AD Gaming are investing heavily in building a sustainable ecosystem. Through these efforts, we are confident the BLAST Premier World Final will be a catalyst for creating more opportunities in the UAE and the wider Middle East.

What sort of commitment do the organisers of BLAST Premier have to the regional market? Can we expect more regional-focused events in the months to come?
BLAST Premier is open to grassroots and amateur teams via our qualifier series, giving teams from all over the world, no matter how big or small, a chance to compete for a spot in regional events and face off against the world’s best teams. We’ve hosted two qualifiers in the Middle East in the past – giving local teams and talent a chance to play in front of a global audience.

The 2022 Fall Season spanned four continents and was open to over 100 countries and thousands of amateur teams, where eight spots were made available in the Fall Showdown that further led into the Fall and World Final. This tournament structure allows every team in the CS:GO circuit to dream big and imagine their names alongside the biggest names in the game.

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