GameStop is making an esports play through initiatives that include the establishment of the GameStop Performance Center in Frisco, Texas, according to CNBC. The 11,000-square-foot location will serve as the headquarters of Complexity Gaming, an esports team owned by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and real estate investor John Goff.
Other plans include the launch of gaming clinics for amateur players looking for a competitive experience and partnerships with other North American esports teams. The retailer also will partner with the Collegiate Star League to create college-level esports tournaments and events.
One of GameStop’s goals is to make the Dallas area the “local YMCA” for esports, according to Frank Hamlin, CMO of GameStop. This initiative may also play out nationwide through events held at GameStop stores.
“Domestically, we have 3,800 retail stores for gamers that are within a skateboard ride of 85% of the U.S. population,” said Hamlin in an interview with CNBC. “We believe that hosting esports gaming clinics and tournaments across our retail stores will give us an advantage with the amateur community. That’s our role for our partners and our specialty retail advantage in the video game ecosystem.”
This new partnership represents familiar ground for GameStop, which signed a multiyear deal with esports league Major League Gaming in 2006. The retailer also partnered with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for a fighting game tournament in 2017.
GameStop has been looking for ways to reverse its poor financial results, which included a 5% sales decline during holiday 2018 compared to holiday 2017. The retailer started looking for a buyer in June 2018, but ended the search in January 2019 due to lack of available financing on terms a prospective buyer would accept.