The story behind Game's eSports tie-up with Sports Direct

Game hopes to capitalise on growing demand for esports

Game hopes to capitalise on growing demand for esports

Under the terms of the agreement, Sports Direct, owned by Mike Ashley, will try to cash in on the growing popularity of eSports by clearing space in stores to host live matches between players battling it out in a variety of competitive video games. The sites are located across the United Kingdom, in city and town centres and in major shopping centres, and also host new technology launches, competitions and other invite-only gatherings.

It could be a successful combination for both parties with Sports Direct acquiring a 50% interest in intellectual property rights for BELONG for £3.5m, while Game will receive a loan of up to £55m.

Game's Spanish arm has also entered into a loan agreement with Sports Direct for facilities of up to £55 million on an unsecured basis.

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Martyn Gibbs, Game's chief executive, said the deal was part of the company's strategy to focus on providing experiences to consumers, rather than just physical products.

"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", said Gibbs.

Following the deal, a redeveloped Belong website is scheduled for launch later this month, allowing people to reserve their gaming location online ahead of their visit, and to access information about upcoming community events and tournaments in their local arena.

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Sports Direct shoppers will be invited to take a break from browsing for leisurewear to play video games, with the chain unveiling a partnership that will see Game Digital open concessions in its stores.

Sports Direct bought a stake in Game in July past year after the company issued a profit warning.

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