UK-based retailer GAME has sold its Insomnia Gaming Festival business and the organiser behind it – Player1 Events – to privaty equity firm Supernova Capital.
Insomnia, which usually runs two gaming expo and LAN events per year including esports tournaments at the Birmingham NEC, is planning to return later in 2021, subject to COVID restrictions.
Insomnia founder Craig Fletcher has also returned and joined the Supernova exec team to help relaunch the event. As CEO of Events and Esports at SuperNova Capital, he will lead Insomnia operations, and according to a press release, will ‘provide the driving force and entrepreneurial spirit behind Supernova’s future plans for live events and esports’.
All existing Player1 Events staff will be retained as part of the acquisition and will be potentially working on an Insomnia event in 2021, along with future events planned in the UK and internationally in 2022 and beyond.
Craig Fletcher – who also ran for parliament in 2019 for the Lib Dems in Romsey and Southampton North – commented: “We’ve seen over the last year that the demand for events has been palpably growing, both as interest in esports has grown dramatically, but also people longing to return to the atmosphere of being at a live event.
“By relaunching Insomnia, we will take things to a new level, uniting gamers of all ages, and players of all levels to come together at inspiring live events. We hope to be in a position to make announcements on 2021 events soon.”
Paul Wedgwood, co-founder and CEO of Supernova, added: “Insomnia is an event with global appeal, and we’re excited about the impact Supernova and our partners can make. We’re in an excellent position to help brands develop their own events and communities post-COVID, following a transformative 12 months in the industry.
“We also look forward to continuing our close relationship with GAME and Belong as we develop new experiences for our own growing community.”
The Supernova team includes some former and current senior executives from British games developer Splash Damage, including Paul Wedgwood, Mark Morris and Richard Jolly.
Sarah Hodgson, UK FD of GAME, said: “The Insomnia Gaming Festival is a crucial date on the gaming calendar for bringing gamers together to celebrate the games they love. The event has always had a wide appeal and we look forward to seeing what Craig and the Supernova team can do in the future.”
GAME originally bought Insomnia event organiser and multiplayer service host Multiplay for £20m, back in early 2015. Then, in late 2017, GAME sold the Multiplay brand and its hosting division to Unity for £19m, while Craig Fletcher departed GAME.
GAME renamed the events part of the business to GAME Esports and Events, which later was renamed Player1 Events.
In summer 2019, Sports Direct purchased GAME in a deal worth £52m. And last summer, GAME sold its Belong Gaming Arenas brand to Vindex, which plans to open stores across the US and globally.
View the news in video form:
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.