Part of the Vue Cinema Fulham Broadway multiplex will be transformed into a dedicated 600-person capacity eSports venue called the Gfinity Arena in March.
VUE cinemas has backed the growing eSports – or competitive gaming sector – in the UK with this partnership with eSports tournament provider Gfinity.
A press spokesperson says the announcement will ‘open up huge new opportunities for brands to reach over five million eSports fans in the UK alone’.
The venue will be able to accommodate more than 1,000 fans over the course of a weekend and more than 25,000 throughout the season. It will include a player lounge for up to 50 gamers, Gfinity’s own entrances, a ticketing hall, automated ticket machines and confectionery stall.
The eSports company will also have an online presence on Vue’s consumer facing website myvue.com.
The Gfinity Arena is scheduled to open in March for the start of the 2015 Gfinity Championships and will enable the company to host eSports events every weekend and on selected weekday evenings.
Gfinity attracted 4,000 spectators to the UK’s biggest ever eSports event at the Copperbox Arena in London’s Olympic Park last year.
Vue Fulham Broadway currently has nine digital screens and can currently seat up to 2,252 people. It is close to Heathrow Airport meaning players can get to the arena in less than an hour from Heathrow.
Neville Upton, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gfinity, said: “This is a pivotal moment for Gfinity and an exciting time for everyone involved in eSports in the UK. We are delighted to have signed this exclusive agreement with Vue, a well-established international brand, to develop and launch the UK’s first and only dedicated eSports arena.
"The deal gives us excellent flexibility and ensures we can accommodate larger crowds as the boom in the popularity of eSports as a spectator sport continues to grow. Furthermore, the deal highlights the growing interest from leading brands here in the UK in the eSports market, which provides an excellent opportunity to reach 18 to 34 year olds.”
Kevin Styles, UK and Ireland MD of Vue, added: “Vue prides itself on being at the forefront of cinema ensuring that we are an exciting and dynamic entertainment destination. This collaboration with Gfinity underlines this and heralds a new era for eSports in the UK. eSports has seen explosive growth both in the UK and throughout the world with popular events attended by thousands of fans and viewed by millions more online.
"Gfinity has built an excellent reputation as a leader in eSports and we look forward to helping them deliver exciting live events that will lead the way for eSports in the UK and Europe."
In partnering with Vue, Gfinity can now also able to broadcast its events live into Vue cinemas in the likes of Poland and Germany.
The agreement between Vue and Gfinity was facilitated by Gfinity’s sponsorship and broadcasting partner Pitch International.
Last week Gfinity announced it was organising Activision’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare European Championships at the Royal Opera House from February 28th to March 1st 2015.