Dubai, UAE: As a disruptive brand that brings communities together to champion the underdog, Robocom VR, the Middle East’s largest virtual reality gaming company, is the proud sponsor of The Cedars, Lebanon’s national basketball team. During this two-year game-changing CSR campaign, The Cedars have won three international sporting titles, including the Arab Basketball Cup and gold and silver medals at this month’s FIBA Asia Cup, with sights now set on entering the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup in August next year.
The trailblazing partnership was driven by Robocom VR’s founder’s reaction to the 2020 Beirut Explosion, and with The Cedars, they created a powerful campaign to inspire its community through sports. Robocom VR offered financial support to both the women’s and men’s national basketball teams, enabling training and transportation so that together, they could beat all the odds to rally against economic and political hardship in Lebanon, as The Cedars reached the Asia Cup finals, narrowly missing out on victory by 2 points.
This agreement highlights how Robocom VR has continued to diversify its portfolio, expanding its international footprint to include collaborations within sports, fashion and film, ultimately demonstrating that it is an innovative company that empowers talent, progression and social cohesion. The company is now looking to source further partnership from other international brands to progress The Cedar’s preparations to enter the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Competing at the highest level, the nail-biting Asia Cup final was broadcast to millions across the GCC, which saw Lebanon narrowly lose to Australia 75-73. Demonstrating the overwhelming international support from fans, The Cedar’s captain Wael Arakji, earned over 3 million votes to win the prestigious “Most Valuable Player” (MVP) of the tournament. Having averaged 26 points per game, Wael was the first Lebanese and Middle Eastern player to ever be awarded this title.
Wael Arakji, captain of The Cedars, Lebanon’s national basketball team, commented, “Robocom VR is much more than just a sponsor, they have become a significant part of the National Team. Without Robocom VR, The Cedars wouldn’t be here today. Together, we showed the world that a small team from a small country from a very ordinary league can fight and can dominate the sport. The team at Robocom VR shared our vision that we needed to set the bar high and to continue getting better every day. Although we didn’t win this time, we did write history for our country, and feeling the support of the hundreds of thousands of fans, who were watching us at home as families, was the greatest honour for us all. Now, our hearts are set on winning Gold at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup next August.”
Karim Ibrahim, Co-Founder and CEO of Robocom VR, said, “Our collaboration with The Cedars demonstrates our belief in our national team’s spirit and resilience. Hope and resilience have always been what the Lebanese people have been known for but along the way with all the traumas we endured, we seemed to have lost our hope and resilience. We wanted a way bring back that hope to the Lebanese people and what better way to bring back hope than sports and winning a World Cup to bring back home to our beautiful country. Our commitment to being more than a VR company is that our brand delivers on its promise to challenge the status quo, inspire change and deliver hope. None of the current Lebanese team members had ever competed in the Asian Cup final before, so that in itself is a modern Cinderella story represents a new hope for Lebanon.”
“The new generation isn’t just looking to be entertained, they’re looking for something to believe in; The Cedar’s used pure determination and heart to reach the finals of this prestigious international sporting tournament, watched across the globe. Representing that same spirit, the Robocom VR brand will continue its rapid growth and diversification, with the exciting opening of our next record-breaking VR destination in Abu Dhabi on the horizon. For The Cedars, we can envision them winning the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup next year, so we are looking to collaborate with other entities that are willing to believe in our champions,” Ibrahim added.
Ali Haidar, player for The Cedars, commented, “I started playing basketball at 16 years old when my mother moved us to Canada with an ambition and dream to give us a better future. Back then I didn’t see the value of ambition and the value of having a dream until I met Karim Ibrahim and Toufic Assaf last year. They reminded me of my mother and her dream and how far a dream can take you. Karim made me believe in a future that I previously saw as impossible. Toufic made me see the good in every bad. And when you combine them both, you can always see the light. Before Robocom VR, our dream was to be in the World Cup. Now our dream is to win it. And dreams might just come true…”
Toufic Assaf, Co-Founder and Chairman of Robocom VR, added, “Over the years, we have witnessed how sport can overcome conflict and unite nations. From the start of this partnership with the National Team, our goals and aspirations were clear from day one, it is to set a realistic path for the Cedars to have the possibility to win the World Cup, in further hopes of uniting an entire nation, even if it were just 40 minutes, the ripple effect would be massive and might just be exactly what the country needs, and to achieve that, all we needed is a possibility.”
“We have been in total admiration of The Cedar’s mental strength and ability, and as a homegrown company that has become the leading global VR gaming company, against all odds, we also tend to champion the underdog. We will continue to re-write the rules to reach new heights as we enter a new era of sports and basketball in our home country, and we can’t wait to show our nation what we have in store for them.”