Sports Direct has acquired 50% of Belong, GAME’s esports brand. It’s after a previous 26% acquisition of GAME back in July after the company’s share price dropped heavily.
The deal sees Sports Direct acquire 50% of the rights to the Belong IP for £3.2 million and will also take a 50% share of future profits from Belong.
Additionally, the sports retailer owned by notorious Newcastle FC owner Mike Ashley has entered into a loan agreement with GAME whereby it will provide £55 million in capital. The loan provided will help Belong accelerate the roll-out of Belong stores – some of which will be in GAME Retail stores and some in Sports Direct stores.
Thus far Belong has 19 stores across the country, and has plans for many more by the end of its financial year.
GAME’s CEO Martyn Gibbs commented: “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 esports fans by bringing this unique experience to a wider consumer base”.
He added: “”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. Having launched the Belong brand just over a year ago, we have now opened 19 arenas and are very encouraged by the popularity and performance of these locations. 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 esports fans by bringing this unique experience to a wider consumer base.”
Esports Insider says: This is certainly an interesting move from Sports Direct. We can’t really imagine going and playing games in Sports Direct as it’s hardly the most enjoyable of consumer experiences anyway – but hey-ho, this may well work? We’ll wait to see how it all pans out.