Simon Property Group Buys Share Of Esports Company, Plans Arenas In Malls
The largest mall owner in the U.S. continues to push the boundaries of what malls can contain.
On Monday, Simon Property Group announced the forming of a new partnership with esports promotion and arena operator Allied Esports, Esports Insider reports. Together, the two companies will build venues for esports competitions in as-yet-unnamed malls in Simon's portfolio.
To enter the partnership, Simon has agreed to pay $5M for a minority share in Allied's parent company, Black Ridge Acquisition Corp. Black Ridge completed another $5M partial sale to Mexican television network TV Azteca in June, Esports Insider reports.
"This is exactly the type of innovative activation that excites our customers and drives traffic for our centers at Simon," Simon Executive Vice President of Corporate Real Estate Mark Silvestri said in a statement. "Simon’s successful locations are ideally suited to provide these new and exciting community spaces, complementing our other dynamic offerings.”
Though malls have been the shopping center category hit hardest by the advent of e-commerce and the changes it wrought on shopping behavior, well-located malls have proved fertile ground for innovation. As the industry leader, Simon has been at the vanguard, introducing mixtures of uses like offices and hotels to keep foot traffic high.
Esports has become a multibillion-dollar industry in the past few years, driven by massive growth in both amateur game players and spectators for professional leagues. Arenas for competitive tournaments have cropped up in redevelopment projects in some major cities, and ground-up construction is on the horizon as well.
Allied Esports runs a network of esports leagues, tournaments and events across the world, and manages 11 arenas in the U.S., China and Europe either directly or through affiliate partnerships. On its website, Allied claims to run "the first esports venue affiliate program available to partners looking to open new esports facilities around the world."