MENA esports merger to put untapped gaming market on the map
MENA regions, one of the fastest-growing sectors globally, with 100 million gamers playing in 2020 alone
Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Galaxy Racer, the biggest esports, content and lifestyle organisation, based in the Middle East, North Africa and South-East Asia, and Team Nigma, the biggest competitive gaming team in the MENA region, have today announced they are merging to become Nigma Galaxy, a new esports powerhouse.
The merger will unite both brands in their ambitions for the MENA region and international growth, while still allowing each to retain their visual identity.
The merger is one of the most significant deals for esports in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and MENA regions, widely considered to be one of the fastest-growing gaming sectors globally, with 100 million gamers playing in 2020 alone.
According to a recent YouGov study, while familiarity with esports in the MENA was lower compared to Asian countries like China and Taiwan, the population had much higher engagement compared to Western countries like the United States and UK. The study went on to highlight that in the Middle East, Egypt has the highest gamer population (68%) followed by the UAE (65%), Saudi Arabia (61%) and Iraq (57%) - these four countries have bigger gaming populations than France, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
However, without the infrastructure, funding and support within the region most competitive gamers have been forced to forge their careers abroad. The merger will enable Nigma Galaxy to create a better support structure and provide upcoming talent with the resources needed for them to be able to pursue a career in the esports and gaming industry, including the Nigma Galaxy Academy to nurture young gamers within the region.
Together the new organisation will look to build an authentic voice for the MENA region, establish itself as the #1 esports organisation in the world and give its players an international platform. Nigma Galaxy will look to become a household name for players in the region to be proud of, and with aspirations to become a global force it will also use existing resources from Galaxy Racer to expand further within Europe, Asia and South and North America.
The merger will see Team Nigma become Nigma Galaxy, the esports team division of Galaxy Racer which will be led by Team Nigma’s co-founders, Mohamed Morad, Christoph Timm and Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi. Leveraging Team Nigma’s vast experience they will help to nurture the development of each roster with players from Nigma’s current Dota2 roster also joining the new division.
Nigma Galaxy will operate as a standalone entity with its own budget, brand, direction and identity, retaining the current Team Nigma colours. While Galaxy Racer will also retain its brand identity and will be able to focus on developing its already-robust content creator structure and additional branches to the business. Nigma released its first apparel line last year and will be updating merchandise in line with the brand update. The organisation will be sending free merchandise to all fans who purchased its first line.
Nigma Galaxy will also join Abu Dhabi Gaming (AD Gaming), a new initiative that launched earlier this year. Pioneered by twofour54 Abu Dhabi, the initiative will champion the development of regional talent and bring a calendar of year-round gaming events to Abu Dhabi, and aggregates the emirate’s drive to build a thriving gaming and esports ecosystem.
Galaxy Racer launched in 2019 and has already become one of the biggest gaming organisations globally, and the only entity in the MENA region with a significant international presence. The organisation prides itself on having five separate business offerings; Esports Teams, Content Creators, Tournaments Management, Merchandising and Lifestyle and GXR Records, a newly established record label that already carries two signed artists from MENA.
Within its first year of opening, Galaxy Racer onboarded some of the biggest content creators in the MENA and Asia regions and currently carries over 100 creators with a reach of over 370 million followers across all platforms. Their content creators roster includes some of the biggest YouTube channels with over 2 billion views across all platforms including AboFlah, the biggest gaming channel in the Arabic speaking world and the fastest-growing channel with over 1 million new followers per month.
Galaxy Racer also carries esports rosters across all major titles including League of Legends, VALORANT, CS:GO, Free Fire, PUBG MOBILE and Fortnite.
Team Nigma, a professional Dota 2 esports organisation, was founded in 2019 by former Team Liquid members Mohamed Morad and Christoph Timm as well as four out of five of the champions of The International 2017, Miracle-, GH, MinD_ContRoL and KuroKy. Within the space of a year, Team Nigma secured a landmark partnership with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, becoming the first esports team to be sponsored by an airline.
Based out of Abu Dhabi, Team Nigma also recently partnered with one of the largest telco providers, Etisalat, hosting the biggest Dota 2 tournament in the MENA region - ‘Rising Stars’.