Tel Aviv will host the inaugural Abraham Accords Esports Peace Games in January 2023, The US Embassy in Israel announced on Wednesday.
The event, organized in partnership with Israel's Foreign Ministry, philanthropist Sylvan Adams, New York-based investment banking firm LionTree and the Israeli Esports Association, will see competitors from Israel, the US, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and "special guests and leading gamers" compete against one another, with a prize of $82,000 to be distributed among the winners.
Adams, who co-chairs the games' organizing committee alongside US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides, said Israel will "witness the power of sports to bring people together in friendship in this new Middle East.
"The Abraham Accords are a game changer for our region, with our new diplomatic relations fostering business, educational and scientific exchanges," Adams wrote in the statement announcing the event. "But for this to endure, to weave the warm peace that we will seek in the region, we must have people-to-people exchanges – sporting, cultural and especially tourism with our neighbors... E-sports introduces a whole new cohort to Israel."
“E-sports introduces a whole new cohort to Israel”Sylvan Adams
The event's organizers further announced plans to add up to 10 nations to the peace games, which will be held at a production cost of $1.5 million. The event, which will be held in Tel Aviv's Shlomo Group Arena, is expected to draw "thousands of people from across the country," the embassy wrote.
In addition to the games, an open gaming festival will be held in which esports enthusiasts will be able to "connect with each other via the gaming world."
Esports and the Abraham Accords
Esports is growing globally, with the US estimating an international industrial value of $1.8 billion by 2025. Some esports events have reached up to 400 million viewers worldwide. The event organizers will also offer site-seeing tours and trips for visitors coming to Israel from around the world.
"The Abraham Accords are critical to the region's stability and prosperity," Nides said. "The Biden administration sees its job as taking the accords from a start-up to a real operation... one of the most important mechanisms to accomplish that is building people-to-people connections.
"This Esports tournament - the first of its kind - is one of many joint cultural activities being organized around the accords, connecting with the region's youth to make sure the accords are sustainable."
The event is also supported by the Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem.