The Global Esports Federation (GEF) has partnered with the West Midlands — an administrative district in the UK — in a bid to position the region as a ‘global esports hub’.
Led by the West Midlands Growth Company, a 10-year Strategic Framework Agreement has been signed to bolster the region’s credentials as an esports centre.
The West Midlands is a metropolitan county in the UK and includes major cities such as Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton. The West Midlands Growth Company is a regional investment promotion and development agency.
The Strategic Framework Agreement includes plans to commission an independent report into esports in the region, host the Global Esports Tour from 2023 through 2026, and submit a bid to host GEF’s Global Esports Games in 2027/28.
It also sees West Midlands and the GEF commit to the development of an Innovation and Research Centre (IRC) — GEF research hubs located in key cities — to spur collaboration and innovation between the private sector and universities in the West Midlands.
Finally, the agreement will see the West Midlands host an annual GEF World Forum, focused on areas including health, local communities, education, youth leadership and careers, among others.
The announcement comes ahead of the Commonwealth Esports Championships and the Commonwealth Esports Forum, both of which take place in Birmingham in August. The Championships are the result of a partnership between the official Commonwealth Games sporting event’s organising body and the GEF.
The partnership looks to build out the West Midlands’ position as a gaming and esports hub within the UK. The region is home to a large concentration of gaming companies, the Wolverhampton Wanderers football club — which is active in esports — and the University of Warwick, which launched an esports department and esports centre last year.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, commented: “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.
“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.”