Multiple esports personalities promote Saudi gaming destination in coordinated social media push cover image

Multiple esports personalities promote Saudi gaming destination in coordinated social media push

Several esports personalities including Summit1g, Nickmercs, and Clix have shown their support for a Qiddiya City, a Saudi esports initiative.

A series of high-profile gaming and esports personalities, including Kai Cenat, stableronaldo, Nick “Nickmercs” Kolcheff, Jaryd “Summit1g” Lazar, and Cody “Clix” Conrod, have reposted and shown support towards an advertisement for Qiddiya City, a Saudi Arabian gaming initiative.

In a series of posts on Instagram on Dec. 14, Nickmercs, stableronaldo, and Kai Cenat all shared a video highlighting promoting Qiddiya city. Nickmercs' post was tagged with "Paid partnership" and also included a #ad tag. Meanwhile, while Stable Ronaldo and Kai Cent simply opted to add a #ad tag. The individuals involved in the promotional push were all exceptionally high profile gaming streamers and creators.

However, on Twitter/X, a series of reposts and comments on a Qiddiya Gaming post were made by personalities without disclosure.

The personalities involved include former League of Legends pro and founder of Rexpeita, Felipe “brTT” Gonçalves, FaZe’s Nickmercs, streamer Summit1g, Xset co-owner Clix. At least eight personalities both retweeted and commented on the post. In each case there was both a comment and a retweet, suggesting a pattern of agreed engagement.

Summit1g and brtt's comments (Image via X)
Summit1g and brtt's comments (Image via X)
AnnieFuchsia, Nickmercs, Clix, and Nadia's comments (Image via X)
AnnieFuchsia, Nickmercs, Clix, and Nadia's comments (Image via X)

According to the US Federal Trade Commision (FTC) influencers and marketers must disclose any material connection between them and a brand they are endorsing. However, retweets and comments may fall under a legal gray area due to their lack of explicit endorsement. Other countries also may not have as strict legal protections on disclosing endorsements.

Clix does not have an explicitly promotional agreement with Qiddiya City, but has a short history with Saudi Arabia: In 2022 and 2023, Clix participated in the Gamers8 Fortnite tournament in Saudi Arabia. In 2022 he went viral for opening a fire escape during the tournament. In 2023 the streamer posted promotional content for the tournament and Saudi Arabia.

It’s unknown if brTT, Summit1g or the rest of the personalities on Twitter/X have a agreement to promote to Qiddiya City, as was the case with the Instagram posts from Kai Cenat and Nickmercs.

What is Qiddiya City?

(Image via Qiddiya City)
(Image via Qiddiya City)

Qiddiya City is a 370 sq. kilometer “entertainment megaproject” funded by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. With ground breaking on the project in 2018, and completion pending, Qiddiya has oscillated between being a Disney World-like entertainment attraction, a tourist destination, investment hub, and most recently, “gaming & esports district”

As per a release from Dec. 14: "Qiddiya City will be home to the world's first mixed-use gaming and esports district that will attract gamers from across the globe and cement Saudi Arabia as a global epicentre of this dynamic sector, it was announced today."

Located 40 miles from the capital of Riyadh, Qiddiya is one of Saudi Arabia’s “giga projects” which include the controversial Neom city, The Line, (a giant mirror wall city) the Red Sea Project, (a kind of ocean reclamation plan) and King Salman Park (a enormous green space in the center of Riyadh).

Saudi Arabia and the PIF have made huge moves into esports and gaming in recent years. While the PIF has major stakes in Activision Blizzard, EA, and Microsoft, the most notable investment in esports is the Savvy Game Group that controls the ESL FACEIT Group. However, there has been pushback against Saudi ownership of these properties, due to criticism about the country’s dismal track record on human rights


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