UK retailer Game is set to sell its Beyond competitive gaming venues to a US start-up from the founders of Major League Gaming, it’s announced.
According to the FT, New York-based Vindex will buy Belong in a deal that values the network of gaming sites at about $50m.
Vindex, which was founded by Mike Sepso and Sundance DiGiovanni last year, will reportedly invest $300m in Belong to help it expand with 500 esports venues in the US and another 1,000 in other countries.
Game Digital will continue to operate Belong venues in the UK and Spain under licence from Vindex.
Sepso and DiGiovann are esports veterans who created Major League Gaming, a competition organiser acquired for $46m four years ago by Activision Blizzard.
Despite ongoing social distancing measures due to the pandemic, the FT reports that the pair believe there will still be demand from amateur gamers to visit esports venues rather than competing online.
“Think about Belong being a tennis club or squash club, really somewhere where whatever level you want to participate at you can,” said Beyond’s CEO Martyn Gibbs, who is moving to Vindex as part of the deal.
Gibbs said Vindex was working with “all the major landlords in the US” to secure new sites for esports arenas, with each covering 5,000-6,000 square feet and costing about $250,000.
“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.”
Mike Ashley acquired Game Digital last year in a £52m transaction.