GAME has sold Belong, their network of esports arenas, to US startup company Vindex for a reported $50 million. The news comes via the Financial Times, and later confirmed by Vindex themselves.
As part of the deal, GAME will continue to own and operate the Belong arenas in the UK and Spain, while Vindex will begin opening arenas around the United States in an attempt to grow the brand. Vindex plans to invest $300M over the next five years to open more than 500 Belong locations in the US and an additional 1,000 locations globally through licensed operating partners including GAME.
GAME CEO Martyn Gibbs will join the Vindex management team as CEO of Belong Gaming, in order to oversee the US rollout, and will initiate a global expansion strategy.
“The acquisition of Belong and Martyn’s leadership will allow us to bring the professional esports experience to casual and amateur players in their hometowns across the country and around the world, connecting more players everywhere at a time when communities truly need to be closer together,” said Mike Sepso, CEO of Vindex. “Martyn is a true innovator and one of the most respected executives in the industry, with more than 25 years of experience, most recently as CEO of one of the world’s largest gaming retailers. We are thrilled to have him lead the next phase in our esports infrastructure strategy.”
Gibbs also commented, “I am delighted to join Vindex and lead Belong Gaming as we continue the rapid expansion of the arenas. Since the beginning, the Belong team has been successful at creating a network effect for members. Belong’s renowned gaming arenas provide safe, inclusive community spaces where casual and competitive gamers can compete in organized grassroots esports tournaments, improve their skills, challenge other players and socialize with others who share their passion for gaming.”
“Esports is the fastest growing sport in the world and we have seen this passion for gaming through the rollout of the Belong business in the UK,” said Ray Kavanagh, CFO of GAME Digital. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Vindex’s proven management team to fortify and expand the Belong community in our current locations and globally.