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Game sells Belong arenas to Vindex in $50m deal

Mike Ashley’s Game Digital has revealed it is set to sell its Beyond Esports gaming arenas to US-based start-up Vindex in a deal worth $50m (£38.5m).

The deal sees Vindex acquire the Belong Gaming Arenas brand and all associated IP from the largest video games retailer in the UK and Spain.

Game operates over 500 video game retail stores and launched Belong in 2016 to build a network of local gaming communities that play, watch, and compete together in state-of-the-art gaming centers.

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Vindex will operate Belong Gaming in the US from its New York headquarters, and said it will immediately begin rolling out Belong Arenas across the country.

Belong Gaming will partner with Esports Engine, a Vindex company, to provide turnkey amateur esports league design, operations, and tournaments through Vindex’s powerful software platform that will power Belong Arenas and connect all of its global members.

Vindex added it plans to invest $300m (£231m) 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.

Martyn Gibbs, CEO of Game Digital and video game industry veteran, will join the Vindex management team as CEO of Belong Gaming to oversee the immediate US rollout and initiate a global expansion strategy. Game will continue to operate all UK locations as an officially licensed operator.

Vindex CEO, Mike Sepso, said: “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.

“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.”

Ray Kavanagh, CFO of Game Digital, added: “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. 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.”

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