West Midlands signs 10-year strategic framework agreement with GEF – European Gaming News
The West Midlands have agreed a 10-year Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA) with the Global Esports Federation (GEF), accelerating the region’s commitment to fostering international growth in the rapidly evolving industry.
The partnership will see the West Midlands join a network of global hubs including, but not limited to, GEF’s Singapore headquarters and further developments in Brazil, China, Turkey, Japan, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.
The agreement, led by West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC), will cement the region’s position as a hotbed for the esports and gaming industry, with the West Midlands already responsible for a quarter of UK production in the sector.
The partnership builds on the West Midlands’ position as the gaming and esports hub within the UK, with the region being home to a total of 130 gaming companies – mostly based around Leamington Spa – including Codemasters, Ubisoft, Playground and Sega Hardlight among others .
The industry employs more than 3,000 games professionals in the region. The University of Warwick was recently named UK Esports University of the Year for the fourth consecutive year after investing heavily in state-of-the-art facilities and talent.
Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers are also heavily committed to esports, hosting their own esports organization with teams in the UK, Europe and China and last year announcing a partnership with North American esports giants Evil Geniuses.
Paul J. Foster, CEO of the Global Esports Federation, said, “GEF President Chris Chan and the entire Board of Directors of the Global Esports Federation have strategic global hubs as anchors for our development of esports, sports, immersive technologies, innovative entertainment, and related sectors. Leadership in the West Midlands continues to demonstrate a strong shared ambition and the diverse capabilities of this dynamic region. Through our partnership with the Commonwealth Games Federation for the upcoming Commonwealth Esports Championships and this historic Strategic Framework Agreement, we are proud to bring our support, expertise and strong, tangible commitment to this region and to unlocking a decade of limitless opportunity and growth accelerating the people and businesses lucky enough to call it home.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands said: “I was thrilled when we confirmed that the first-ever Commonwealth Esports Championships would be held right here in the West Midlands this summer and this exciting partnership with the Global Esports Federation shows the scale of ours Region’s goal – to become a global leader in the world’s fastest growing entertainment sector. We are fortunate to already have big gaming names on our doorstep such as Sega Hardlight and Codemasters, all contributing to the West Midlands’ growing status as an eSports hub. Now we’re taking the next step by partnering with the Global Esports Federation to drive investment and create high-quality, cutting-edge jobs in this incredibly dynamic sector. These are important times for the West Midlands and I can’t wait to see this sector continue to thrive.”
Ian Ward, Chairman of Birmingham City Council, said: “With Birmingham and the wider West Midlands synonymous with youth, vibrancy and pioneering new innovation, our region is well positioned as the new strategic hub for British esports. Through our partnership with the Global Esports Federation, we are turning this fast-growing, global economic and cultural opportunity into a regional growth plan. The 10-year commitment will help us host more major events in the city and drive international visitor numbers to the region, and includes the development of a new esports innovation and research center that has the potential to strengthen local technology capacities. We look forward to bringing eSports to a new audience of fans and talent right here in Birmingham, beginning with the inaugural Commonwealth eSports Championships this August.”