Qatar SportsTech (QST) was originally designed to accelerate the sports industry in Qatar and the Middle Eastern region by providing start-ups with access to investment, expertise and connections, as well as developing the start-ups in its programmes by way of mentorship. However, the firm has now turned its eye to esports in a bid to propel the sector and better position Qatar within its ecosystem.
The company’s Accelerator Program, which takes place over a three-month period on a bi-annual basis in Qatar’s capital Doha, sees 10 start-ups selected to take part. These start-ups are chosen by matching certain criteria across four key sectors: Athlete & Team, Fan & Viewer, Mega Sports Events, and of course, Esports. Applications for Cohort 4 are still open, and will run until the end of January 2021, with the programme taking place from March to May 2021.
The inclusion of esports in QST’s program highlights Qatar’s vision to develop its competitive gaming scene alongside its recent push for traditional sporting excellence, which is highlighted by the country hosting major international sports events such as the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Qatar has also seen initiatives such as the Qatar Esports Wega Global Games, launched earlier this year. The three-year global esports competition, centred around Qatar, aims to develop the country’s competitive environment, whilst also providing greater opportunities for participants in the scene. The first edition of the Global Games sees tournaments take place for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Street Fighter V, and Pro Evolution Soccer.
As Qatar looks to establish itself as a global hub in the world of sports and esports, organisations such as QST will ensure that start-ups are provided with the proper tools and expertise to be able to integrate smoothly into the ecosystem. The success of the Accelerator Program has also seen QST think more locally to nurture and develop Qatari start-ups.