New partnership aims to boost esports growth in the West Midlands

A new partnership has been signed to help expand the region's commitment to esports and drive growth in the industry.

From left to right, 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) and Councillor Ian Ward (Birmingham City Council Leader) at the agreement signing
From left to right, 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) and Councillor Ian Ward (Birmingham City Council Leader) at the agreement signing

The West Midlands has agreed on a 10-year Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA) with the Global Esports Federation (GEF), accelerating the region’s commitment to driving international growth in the rapidly developing industry.

The partnership, which was signed on Tuesday, will see the West Midlands join a network of global hubs, including GEF’s headquarters Singapore and continued developments in Brazil, China, Turkey, Japan, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas, among others.

The Strategic Framework Agreement commits to progressing a number of key areas, including a bid to host the Global Esports Games in 2027 and 2028 and hosting the Global Esports Tour over three years from 2023 to 2026.

Other plans include 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 for local communities.

The announcement precedes the inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships and the Commonwealth Esports Forum in partnership with the Commonwealth Games Federation which will take place in Birmingham in August.

Together, this partnership and the Championships will turbocharge growth and prosperity in the UK esports industry, which is already the fastest growing tech sector in the country.

The Championships will be the foremost esports event since the Global Esports Games in Singapore in December 2021, which attracted over 500 million viewers from across the globe.

The partnership builds on the West Midlands’ position as a gaming and esports hub within the UK, with the region playing host to a total of 130 games companies, including the likes of Codemasters, Ubisoft, Playground, Sega Hardlight and others.

Paul J. Foster, Chief Executive Officer, Global Esports Federation said: “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.

"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".

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “I was thrilled when we confirmed that the first ever Commonwealth Esports Championships would be staged this summer right here in the West Midlands.

"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.

"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.

"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.”

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