Vindex Acquires Belong Gaming Arenas, Envy Gaming and Andbox Plan Venues
Vindex is acquiring the Belong Gaming Arenas brand and all associated IP, and plans to open more than 500 locations across the United States. UK-based retailer Game Digital, which launched the Belong brand in 2016, will continue to own and operate all arenas in the UK and Spain through an exclusive license agreement.
Game Digital’s CEO Martyn Gibbs has also transferred to Vindex, where he will serve as CEO of Belong Gaming Arenas. UK entrepreneur Mike Ashley acquired Game Digital last year in a £52M ($65.8M USD) transaction, having hosted Belong arenas since 2018 through his chain of Sports Direct stores.
Vindex plans to invest $300M over the next five years, and open 1,000 locations globally. According to a report from The Financial Times, the deal values Belong at about $50M. Vindex was founded by Major League Gaming (MLG) creators Mike Sepso and Sundance DiGiovanni last year, who raised $60M in series A funding.
It was also announced that Belong would be opening multiple arenas in the home markets of Dallas-based Envy Gaming and New York-based Andbox. Both esports team operators partnered with Vindex last year, and will receive co-branded venues in their respective territories.
Vindex company Esports Engine will design and operate leagues and tournaments for the Belong venues. Adam Apicella, co-founder of Esports Engine and former league operations and production head at MLG, has been named chief experience officer of Vindex to operate these competitions and events.
It was not disclosed when the first of the U.S. based locations would open. Currently, New York and Texas, respectively, have the third and fourth highest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, and are still subject to restrictions on large gatherings and social distance requirements. The Esports Observer will update this article with comments regarding the pandemic’s effect on the planned venues should we receive one.
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