Blast Premier World Final returns to Abu Dhabi with $1 million prize pool

Top esports champions from around the globe will battle it out at the Counter Strike tournament

Germany's G2 Esports team celebrate after winning the top prize at the 2022 Blast Premier World Final in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Blast
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Blast Premier World Final, one of the largest esports tournaments with a prize pool of $1 million, returns to Abu Dhabi this month for the second time.

The two day event at Etihad Arena, on December 16 and 17, will bring together top teams from around the world. Gamers will also get the opportunity to meet esports champions, try out the latest titles and consoles and experience what's it like to compete on stage like a professional.

Andrew Haworth, the director of operations at Blast Premier World Final, says the event's return to the UAE is a sign that the gaming industry in the country is maturing.

“There's an incredible growing passion and fan base for esports across the Middle East and specifically within the UAE and Abu Dhabi,” he tells The National.

“There’s a huge sort of strength in the region of both organisations and teams that are committed and based out of the region.”

At last year’s Blast Premier World Final, German organisation G2 Esports took home the top prize of $500,000, with second place going to Team Liquid from the Netherlands, who received $250,000 in prize money. Third place was shared between global team Faze Clan and Danish team OG, who each took home $85,000.

“You are seeing a huge growth of the athletes coming through and performing to that top tier,” Haworth says. He also hopes to see a regional team represented at the Blast Premier World Final soon.

“I'd love to see and expect to see a team that's either, you know, regionally owned or a regional player based here that's playing in our world final, maybe in two or three years’ time,” he says.

The region’s gaming community celebrated a major success this year after Amjad “Angrybird” Al Shalabi won the top prize at Evo, the most prestigious tournament in fighting games.

At the Blast Premier World Final, the main game of the tournament is Counter Strike, a first-person shooting game that pits teams against each other to see who comes out on top.

First released in 2000, Counter Strike's popularity has only grown over the years. According to statistics released by the video game live streaming service Twitch, the average number of viewers watching a Counter Strike stream is 61,399, making it the 9th most viewed game or genre on the streaming site.

“The basis of Counter Strike is that of five people trying to work out how to achieve something and someone trying to defend that,” Haworth says, explaining its popularity.

“There's huge levels of complexity within the game, but it's approachable and easy to understand.”

At Blast Premier World Final, fans will have the opportunity to “see the world's best athletes compete at the height of their powers for the biggest title they'll play for this year”, says Haworth.

The 2023 Blast Premier World Final will take place at Etihad Arena on Yas Island on December 16 and 17. Tickets and more information are available at

Updated: December 03, 2023, 3:05 AM