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Riot Games Opens Esports Tourney In Saudi Arabia, Settles Gender Discrimination Suit In US

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Riot Games Opens Esports Tourney In Saudi Arabia, Settles Gender Discrimination Suit In US

Despite concerns from some in the West about the kingdom's human rights record, Riot Games on Thursday opened a "League of Legends" tournament in Saudi Arabia, starting an effort to expand the reach of esports with its first tournament in the Middle East and North Africa region.

What Happened

Riot, owned by Chinese tech colossus Tencent Holding/ADR (OTC: TCEHY) and brought in an estimated $1.4 billion in revenue last year, is offering $2 million in prize money in six competitions in the three-day tournament in Riyadh. The tournament is expected to draw an audience of about 30,000.

Qualifiers for the tournament were held in the Middle East and North Africa region, guaranteeing local players.

The move is part of a concerted effort to expand Riot's market in the region.

The company is also considering adding Arabic language support for all its products starting next year along with a Middle East version of League of Legends, the company said.

The event also will feature a concert by American singer Jason Derulo.

Gender Discrimination Suit

Meanwhile, Riot Games has agreed to pay at least $10 million collectively to women who have worked at the company in the last five years to settle a gender discrimination class action suit, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

The settlement of the suit was announced in August, but documents filed in the case this week shed light on the details. 

The claim started in 2018 when two women at Riot's Los Angeles games studio alleged discrimination and harassment, but the settlement will cover about 1,000 women who worked at the company between late 2014 and now, the Times reported. The amount each plaintiff will get depends on how long they worked there.

"The settlement is another important step forward, and demonstrates our commitment to living up to our values and to making Riot an inclusive environment for the industry’s best talent," the company said in a statement.

The plaintiffs and the company have agreed to the settlement, but it still needs court approval.

 

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