INOX, Esports Federation of India join hands to grow esports through big-screen experience

INOX Leisure, one of India’s leading multiplex chains with presence across 71 cities, and Esports Federation of India (ESFI), have entered a partnership to popularise and grow esports in the country.

The deal will see INOX providing a community viewing experience of esports tournaments on the big screens, for the fans, and provide required exposure to take the game to next level across the country.

As exclusive cinema partner, INOX will host and promote ESFI tournaments across the country, aimed towards building awareness and popularizing esports, besides offering world class cinemas as esports and video gaming venues in cities all over India.

“We are thrilled to bring the action of esports to the cinemas of INOX in collaboration with the EFSI, who has been working relentlessly to grow Indian esports,” said Alok Tandon, CEO, INOX Leisure. “Our cinemas are present at highly urbane and youth-centric locations servicing the entertainment needs of a predominantly young population in an unmatched ambience equipped with advanced cinema technology. We believe this advantage, coupled with all our marketing capabilities, will help us popularise esports at a much faster pace in our country.”

Tandon said that INOX will provide a huge opportunity in terms of a captive audience base to not just promote esports in an organised way, but also build awareness and fast track the growth potential.

“With this association, we will build more esports IPs and who knows with our initiatives we can unearth a Neeraj Chopra or Abhinav Bindra in esports for our country,” Tandon said.

Lokesh Suji, director, ESFI and VP of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF), said that the partnership has been in the works for a while.

“This kind of partnership will also help the players in getting legitimacy and parental approval, which is still one of the biggest challenges in India,” Suji said. “It will also help us in scouting talent from across the country, and groom them for larger international events.”

As part of the deal, INOX cinemas will be used as venues for hosting esports tournaments, streaming of live tournaments, provide training opportunities and offer a talent scouting platform for future global events. More importantly, the partnership would introduce esports enthusiasts to the thrill of a live stadium amidst cheers and applause, while they compete in esports events professionally.

As per as E&Y report on Esports in India, published in June 2021, India currently has more than 1,50,000 professional esports players that has generated a viewership of 17 million people across 14 broadcast platforms, and the forecast is to have 1.5 million professional players with 85 million viewership from 20+ broadcasters by FY2025.

Tandon said that the association will also enable INOX to engage and offer an enticing content proposition to the younger audience of age group 15-24 years by promoting this new age sport that has the potential to garner huge fan base and is expected to reach Rs 11 billion by FY2025 as per industry data.

INOX has been supporting Indian sports through various collaborations. It has a longstanding partnership with the Indian Olympic Association and has also screened popular matches including 2019 World Cup league matches.

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