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Saturday 23 February 2019



Sports Direct to open in-store gaming experience

Written by Chris Lemmon

Sports Direct has signed a deal with Game Digital to open e-sports arenas for gamers to meet and compete in some of its UK stores.

Sports Direct has paid £3.2 million to Game Digital for 50 per cent of its Belong business, which owns the gaming arenas in the UK. Belong was launched by Game a year ago in the Manchester Trafford Centre, and has expanded to 19 locations.

The arenas provide dedicated space for both PC and console gamers to play with friends, compete in tournaments, enjoy gaming nights, celebrate new games and technology launches and share game themed events and experiences.

Martyn Gibbs, chief executive officer of Game Digital, commented: “I am delighted that through the Collaboration Agreement we are able to accelerate the implementation of a key element of our transformational strategy to move from a seller of physical products to providing gaming experiences. As more consumer focus and spend moves to experiences, we are well advanced in delivering unique, world class gaming at both local and national level.

“We look forward to collaborating with Sports Direct to increase the availability and scale of Belong and to capitalise on the increasing overlap between sports and e-sports fans by bringing this unique experience to a wider consumer base.”

Jon Kempster, chief financial officer of Sports Direct, added: “We are very happy to partner with Game in building an increased presence in the e-sports market through the Belong brand. This is a very good example of building a commercial relationship via our strategic investment approach.”

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