February 25, 2024

GEF & West Midlands announce 10-year partnership

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The Global Esports Federation (GEF) has announced a 10-year agreement with the West Midlands to boost esports in the United Kingdom (UK) region.

The agreement sees the GEF plan to open a research centre and host tournaments in the region as they look to make the UK a key player on the international esports stage.

The federation also plans to have the West Midlands join a network of global hubs including GEF’s headquarters in Singapore and developments in Brazil, China, Turkey, Japan, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas, among others.

The deal was led by the West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC) which is committed to “promoting the area as a leading place to invest, do business and visit,” and according to the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street the partnership with the GEF shows the region’s ambition.

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L-R: Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor. Rachel Davis, Director of Warwick Enterprise. Alice Dearing – Olympian and avid gamer. Matt Hammond, PwC regional chairman and West Midlands Growth Company chairman. Paul J Foster, CEO of Global Esports Federation. Cllr Ian Ward, Birmingham City Council Leader.

“I was thrilled when we confirmed that the first-ever Commonwealth Esports Championships would be staged this summer right here in the West Midlands and this exciting partnership with the Global Esports Federation showcases the scale of our region’s ambition – to be a global leader in what is the world’s fastest-growing entertainment sector.”

Mayor Street also spoke about the West Midlands’ dedication to the gaming industry as the region currently hosts a total of 130 games companies including the likes of Codemasters, Ubisoft, Playground, Sega Hardlight and others.

“We’re fortunate to already have huge gaming names like Sega Hardlight and Codemasters on our doorstep all contributing to the West Midlands’ growing status as an esports hub.” Mayor Street stated

“Now we’re taking the next step by partnering with the Global Esports Federation to drive investment and create high-quality, state-of-the-art jobs in this incredibly dynamic sector. These are momentous times for the West Midlands, and I cannot wait to see this sector continue to thrive.”

Also speaking about the partnership was the CEO of the Global Esports Federation (GEF), Paul J. Foster who praised the leadership of the region for their ambition.

“The GEF President, Chris Chan and the entire Board of the Global Esports Federation have earmarked strategic global hubs as anchors for our development of esports, sports, immersive technologies, innovative entertainment, and adjacent sectors,” Foster said

“The leadership in the West Midlands continues to demonstrate a strong collective 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, unlocking a decade of limitless opportunities and accelerating growth for the people and businesses who are lucky to call it home.”

Below are a number of key areas the Strategic Framework Agreement between the GEF and the West Midlands commits to progressing, including:

  • The commissioning of an independent report into the esports sector in the region, assessing the potential for the sector’s growth and its economic impact.
  • A bid to host the GEF’s flagship Global Esports Games in 2027/2028.
  • The region playing host to the Global Esports Tour from 2023 through to 2026.
  • The development of a range of initiatives focused on education, health, and the future of work – harnessing GEF and the region’s shared principles of integrity, inclusion, diversity, and innovation.
  • The establishment of a GEF Innovation and Research Centre (IRC) to catalyse further collaboration between the private sector and the universities in the West Midlands, spurring innovation in gaming and immersive technologies.
  • Collaboration with the region’s leading games developers to showcase West Midlands talent.
  • The hosting of an annual GEF World Forum in the West Midlands focused on areas including health, wellness, education, youth leadership, careers and the future of work, and tangible impact on local communities.