INOX joins hands with Esports Federation of India to popularize esports in India through big-screen video gaming experience in cinemas
Mumbai: India’s leading multiplex chain, INOX Leisure Ltd (INOX) and Esports Federation of India (ESFI) on Monday announced a first-of-its-kind partnership that will witness INOX providing a never-seen-before community viewing experience of Esports tournaments, that too 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, which should help in building awareness and popularizing esports, besides offering world class cinemas as esports & video gaming venues in cities all over India.
INOX has been intrinsically supporting Indian sports through various collaborations, with the most notable being with their longstanding partnership with Indian Olympic Association. Now, with a goal to revolutionize Esports landscape in India, INOX & ESFI together aims to take esports to masses using INOX cinemas 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.
Commenting on this association, Alok Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, INOX Leisure Limited, said, “We are thrilled to bring the action of esports to the cinemas of INOX in collaboration with Esports Federation of India who has been working relentlessly to grow Indian esports and together, make esports, a mainstream sporting activity in India. 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 popularize esports at a much faster pace in our country. With esports gaining global significance, there cannot be a better time for us to fulfil this responsibility. 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.”
Alongside Alok Tandon, Vinod Tiwari, President, Esports Federation of India & Director Olympic Council of Asia – NOC & International Relations and Mr Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF) were present at the event along with India’s first & only Esports medalists at the previous Asian Games 2018, Hearthstone player Tirth Mehta, who joined virtually from Bhuj.
For any sport, experience of watching esports tournaments on big screen is enthralling and engaging. This is an opportunity that will help our esports teams and athletes to build and expand their fan base and create scope for more conversations around esports. ESFI is excited about this partnership, as this will also be a concrete step towards taking esports to grassroots, inspire people and give them a platform to showcase their talent. The exclusive partnership comes at a very right time when Asian Games is scheduled in the month of September and ESFI will soon launch “AESF’s Road to Asian Games” to select the national esports contingent of our country. This partnership will see both ESFI & INOX together nurturing and developing the Indian esports talent pool where in ESFI will bring in more partners to further strengthen this objective and create a robust and thriving esports ecosystem, said Mr Vinod Tiwari, President, Esports Federation of India & Director, Olympic Council of Asia – NOC & International Relations.
As per the E&Y Report titled 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.
Tirth Mehta, India’s first & only esports medalist at the Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta said, “I believe every sport needs to have good training facilities, awareness, popularity, and support to make it prosper, and ESFI’s partnership with INOX is a progressive step towards a brighter future. I am also confident that such partnerships will happen in the future too. I hope this partnership will inspire many esports athletes who have been working hard to represent India and win medals for the country.”
The association will enable INOX to engage and offer an enticing content proposition to the age bracket of 15-24 years by promoting this new age sport that has the potential to garner huge fan base and is expected to reach INR 11 billion by FY2025 as per industry data. With growing scope for alternate content, INOX has been one of the pioneers in movie business to propagate the screening of sporting content, major ones being the ICC World Cup events of 2019 and 2021. Through this partnership, INOX and ESFI will be jointly hosting city tournaments and build various esports IPs in order to intensify its growth, not just at elite, but also at the grass root level. The objective will be to introduce the charm of gamers and gaming enthusiasts, across the country, to take part in online as well as in-cinema tournaments.