Populous to design a new esports arena in Saudi Arabia

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Populous has revealed the blueprints for the Qiddiya City Esports Arena, an avant-garde project that is poised to revolutionize the esports encounter. Nestled in the core of Qiddiya City, Saudi Arabia, this arena will be the crown jewel in the world’s inaugural mixed-use gaming and esports district. As an integral component of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030, Qiddiya City aspires to solidify its position as the nucleus of the global gaming and esports realm.

As the pioneer among four designated esports arenas, this venture aligns seamlessly with the district’s dedication to propelling Saudi Arabia into a worldwide epicenter for gaming. The proposal is an integral fragment of a broader strategy aiming to allure an annual footfall of up to 10 million, thereby elevating the city’s stature as a flourishing hub for entertainment, sports, and cultural pursuits. Populous has conceptualized an awe-inspiring design for the multifaceted venue, boasting 5,155 seats.

Characterized by six tapered trapezoidal volumes adorned with neon lights inspired by gaming aesthetics, the arena embodies the fusion between fiction and reality. The ingenious exoskeleton facade is attuned to the dynamic requisites of an arena, crafting a visually dynamic experience through animated LED illumination that synchronizes with the unfolding events and competitions within.

The primary objective of the Qiddiya City Esports Arena is to offer the most extensive collective area of video screens ever witnessed in global esports arenas. Beyond the visual extravaganza, the venue prioritizes an immersive encounter. A centrally positioned “digital chandelier” within the main auditorium, in tandem with 4D haptic seats, enables visitors to witness and physically sense, feel, and even smell the unfolding gaming action. This pioneering approach transcends the realm of competition, extending its scope to encompass non-event amenities such as a training center and a media production hub, thus providing avenues for educational and vocational pursuits.

Going beyond the conventional definition of an esports arena, the Qiddiya City facility seamlessly incorporates diverse spaces that remain accessible even on non-event days. A centralized arcade, food market, retail establishments, and entertainment zones enrich the holistic experience. Meticulously crafted to cater to diverse preferences, these spaces contribute significantly to transforming the arena into a lively hub where gamers can seamlessly intertwine their professional and leisure pursuits.

The Qiddiya City Esports Arena is an effulgent beacon, heralding the advent of a new epoch in esports and gaming. With its avant-garde design, unwavering commitment to sensory immersion, and the integration of non-event facilities, this arena is ready to redefine the global esports panorama. As an integral component of the overarching Qiddiya vision, this project aspires not merely to host events but to metamorphose into a pulsating nexus for esports enthusiasts, athletes, and thought leaders alike.

“We are proud to have combined our extensive knowledge of esports facilities and technology with Qiddiya’s vision to create a world-leading arena for competitors and fans alike. This arena will be unique in esports in both scale and user experience,” said Rhys Courtney, a Senior Principal at Populous EMEA.

“The Qiddiya City Esport Arena is a state-of-the-art esports venue that will serve as a centerpiece for this incredible global gaming hub and will be a complete representation of Qiddiya’s ‘Play Life’ ethos,” said Shireen Hamdan, Senior Principal and General Manager of Populous KSA.

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