UAE National Olympic Committee President Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum with soon-to-be IeSF counterpart Colin Webster ©IeSF

The International eSports Federation (IeSF) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with one of the Middle East’s most established media companies, Motivate Media Group.

The new agreement comes ahead of the launch of a world-class annual esports industry summit and consumer exhibition event in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates next year.

Endorsed by the IeSF, Dubai Sports Council and Emirates Esports Association, the event will be a celebration of Dubai’s journey as a global destination hub for esports organisations and industry leaders, thinkers, influencers and gaming enthusiasts.

It is claimed that esports is the fastest-growing sports category globally with more than 300 million gamers in the Middle East alone.

Colin Webster, set to be named President of the IeSF at the organisation's Ordinary General Meeting in December, and Ian Fairservice, founder and managing partner of Motivate Media Group, signed the MoU to establish a joint venture that introduces the most significant initiative of its kind for esports in the region.

"IeSF is really excited to be collaborating with Motivate to establish a number of world-class esports products that represents an important step in supporting esports growth in the UAE, the Middle East and globally," Webster said.

"The potential for esports in the Middle East is now being realised.

"A national strategy is required to establish and house this remarkable ecosystem.

"Dubai is an amazing city and Motivate Media Group, celebrating its 40th year, is a perfect partner that can help support this vision."

esports is the fastest-growing sports category globally ©Getty Images
esports is the fastest-growing sports category globally ©Getty Images

Fairservice concurred, saying: "With the evolution of technology and the ongoing emergence of all forms of sport as a cultural and entertainment touchstone in society, there is no better time to launch an initiative that embraces this convergence.

"We see the future in esports as being one of the most dynamic and rapidly expanding platforms in new media and are thrilled to be partnering with a leading institution such as the IeSF to develop this in the Middle East."

Webster added that the IeSF is delighted to be attending another world first by Dubai Sports Council.

"Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have a considerable impact in all aspects of life, and sport is no exception," he said.

"By providing thought leadership to AI in sport, this will clearly help shape future policy and its applications for a better world. 

"The UAE was one of the first countries, if not the first, to appoint an AI Minister as part of its portfolio. 

"His Excellency Omar Al Olama is a remarkable person with such insight.

"The IeSF looks forward to our continued collaboration with Dubai Sports Council for the betterment of sports and humankind."

Webster, who served on the IeSF Board between 2013 and 2018, was the only candidate nominated for the Presidential vacancy.