Sports for All Federation and Saudi eSports Federation initiative wins gold at Sport Industry Awards

The Saudi-developed platform combined gaming and fitness to attract 205,000 to take part in physical activities during the COVID-19 pandemic

Esports set for a boost as Dubai Sports Council partners with Gamefinder to launch online tournaments. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle.

Esports set for a boost as Dubai Sports Council partners with Gamefinder to launch online tournaments. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle.

RIYADH: A partnership by Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) and Saudi eSports Federation (SEF) promoting a healthy lifestyle by bridging gaming with physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic has been recognized at one of the Middle East’s leading awards ceremonies.

The SFA and SEF, formerly the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS), won best eSports campaign at the 2021 Sport Industry Awards, an event held to honor the Middle East’s leaders, decision-makers and organizations contributing to the development of regional sports.

The federations won the accolade for their “Move to Game” initiative.

“The recognition of Move to Game’s influence, reach, and most importantly, real-world impact on physical fitness in Saudi and the wider GCC is a landmark moment for the Sports for All Federation,” said Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al-Saud, SFA president.

“Together with our valued partners at the Saudi eSports Federation, we used this as a vehicle to spark the interest of gamers nationwide and engage the country when it was most needed — during the COVID-19 crisis. I applaud our colleagues at the Saudi sports federations who participated online and offline, as well as the numerous sports community groups that participated in making the joint activation a resounding success,” he said.

“Move to Game” saw the two federations collaborate to launch a new Saudi platform to promote the gamification of physical activity. The platform was launched during the COVID-19 outbreak to encourage safe physical activity at home. A comprehensive supporting campaign combined on-ground activations with virtual offerings to bring games and physical activity together.

Live classes, quizzes and other games were part of “Move to Game,” and the program offered a regular flow of multimedia content to its audiences while also relying on influencers to increase campaign awareness. It extended across multiple social media channels, including Twitter and Instagram.

“The Saudi eSports Federation champions the potential of Saudi youth and knows how well they react to challenges and competition,” said Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Sultan Al-Saud, SEF president.

“With ‘Move to Game,’ we’ve taken the same spirit of challenge, togetherness and commitment that we see in the world of eSports, and brought it to the real world,” he said. “There is clear link between physical activity and eSports performance, and having the virtual and physical worlds co-existing side by side in exciting ways led to a very engaged audience and a buzz that created participation.”

The “Move to Game” program involved 15 sports federations and 50 community sports groups. It generated more than one million engagements, resulting in 103,000-plus participants across 33 challenges and 220 stage classes. In total, participants logged more than 12.8 billion steps.

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