Sports Direct and Game Digital announce in-store experience tie-up

Sports Direct and Game Digital announce in-store experience tie-up

Sports Direct and Game Digital announce in-store experience tie-up

British computer games retailer Game Digital said on Monday it planned to open gaming areas in some Sports Direct stores under a collaborative agreement with Mike Ashley's sportswear group, an investor in the company.

So-called e-sports involve professional gamers battling it out in front of crowds at events such as Insomnia.

Adam Tomlinson, analyst at Liberum, said: "The potential to locate both Belong and Game retail stores in Sports Direct stores also improves Game's ability to optimise its United Kingdom store base, where 221 lease events are due to occur in 2018".

The retailer will also provide a £55m loan to Game's Spanish division to help fund development of more eSports venues.

"I am delighted that through the Collaboration Agreement we are able to accelerate the implementation of a key element of our transformational strategy to move from a seller of physical products to providing gaming experiences", said GAME CEO Martyn Gibbs. We'll wait to see how it all pans out.

Mr Gibbs said: "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".

Game has had a hard time of late and slumped to a £10m annual loss in November, despite the success of gaming gadget the Nintendo Switch.

Game Digital has struggled in recent years as supermarkets and online retailers such as Amazon have muscled into the video game specialist's market.

Sports Direct has a number of stakes in rivals such as Debenhams and French Connection. Today, chief financial officer Jon Kempster said the new partnership with Game showed how Sports Direct was building commercial ties on the back of its strategic investments.

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