Gfinity Arena closes in London, company shuts down esports division

Gfinity Arena

Update (June 2023): Gfinity is closing its esports division entirely, as ‘the market for esports remains soft and the directors see limited profitable growth opportunities’.

Gfinity has also announced the divestment of 72.5% of Athlos, a subsidiary of the company, to Tourbillon Group UK Limited. The restructuring will allow Gfinity to ‘focus on digital media and its significant position in the gamer website industry’.

After a large dip in users in 2022 due to some adverse market impacts including changes in the Google Search Engine, thecompany has performed a round of cost cuts and improvements in it content as it streamlines the editorial team and makes strategic hires in SEO and tech, to increase user numbers. Part of this plan includes the deployment of AI automation tools to reduce the cost of specific items of content creation.

Chairman Neville Upton commented: “This has been a difficult year for digital media with the company having losses across all verticals, however after a significant re-structuring, we are confident that Gfinity will flourish without the requirement to raise further working capital.

“By focusing on our core web offering for gamers, we are able to remove the capital intensive businesses of software development and esports events, and focus on returning to a positive return on investment. We will update the shareholders shortly on a more detailed strategy.”

Original article (February 2023): UK-based esports and gaming business Gfinity has closed the Gfinity Arena in London’s Fulham Broadway with immediate effect.

The Gfinity Arena first opened in early 2015 as a converted cinema, following a partnership with the Vue cinema chain, and was open for coming up to eight years now. It was billed as the UK’s first esports arena.

The space held a range of esports-related events over the years, most notably the Gfinity Elite Series which launched in 2017, featured games like CSGO, Rocket League, Street Fighter and FIFA, and went on to air on BBC 3 and BBC iPlayer. Gfinity ended the Elite Series in 2019, saying it would return with a revamped format, but this never materialised.

Following this, the Gfinity Arena was used to host other projects for Gfinity partners, including live events such as the FIFA FUT Champions Cup, FIFA ePremier League, F1 Esports Series, Cadbury’s Heroes League, eCricket Challenge, V10 R-League, Celebrity Esports, Vainglory European Championship and more.

The Gfinity Arena also hosted various esports finals including the ShEsports Cup women’s FIFA tournaments and Digital Schoolhouse Smash Bros finals featuring school and college students.

The arena was predominantly used as a broadcast space, with other venues in the UK like the Copper Box Arena, Wembley and Arena Birmingham being used more as venues for esports viewers to attend in-person. For example, the Apex Legends ALGS Split 1 Playoffs won by TSM last weekend and the upcoming League of Legends MSI London 2023.

Why has the Gfinity Arena closed?

f1 esports series draft gfinity 1

Gfinity said, in this update on the London Stock Exchange website, that the closure of the arena was due to a few factors.

“The directors are conscious of the inconsistent nature of service delivery work, the high cost to the company of delivering a true end-to-end esports solution, and the resources required to support clients in their activations around the globe,” Gfinity said.

“To that end, Gfinity has partnered with a US esports business to jointly deliver solutions on a profit-share basis and no fixed cost. This deal gives Gfinity access to a state-of-the-art US based esports arena as the new home for any production and live events. 

“As a result, effective immediately, Gfinity has decided to close the Gfinity Arena in Fulham, further reducing the company’s fixed cost base.”

Gfinity didn’t state which US-based business or arena it will use in the future – we’ve reached out to a contact to ask and will update this article if we receive word.

Elsewhere in Gfinity’s latest announcement, the company said it’s seeking to raise more funds ‘to accelerate growth and to solidify Athlos’ first-mover advantage’. Gfinity announced the launch of tournament platform Athlos Game Technologies last year.

‘We’re conscious of the inconsistent nature of service delivery work, the high cost of delivering a true end-to-end esports solution, and the resources required. We have access to a state-of-the-art US based esports arena, and have decided to close the Gfinity Arena in Fulham, further reducing the company’s fixed cost base.’


Gfinity added: “The board has agreed the group will require additional external funding, in order to continue to deliver its strategy. Given the continued investment in Athlos, the directors believe the company will require additional working capital in March 2023.

“Therefore, the directors announce their intentions to raise a minimum sum of £1.5m, via an equity placing and subscription. The company is in discussions with several parties, with a view of taking a direct investment in the Athlos platform and thereby reducing the cash cost to Gfinity.”

Gfinity has since raised £2m in a share issue.

Other changes made by Gfinity in the update include non-executive chairman Neville Upton becoming executive chairman, CEO John Clarke departing, and CFO and COO Jonathan Hall taking on executive responsibility for Gfinity’s esports solution business.

The news comes after Gfinity posted an operating loss in December 2022. The company has cash of £0.4m and its share price is currently 0.24p.

Gfinity Arena’s legacy lives on – let’s not forget the part it played in UK esports history

Comment by Esports News UK editor Dom Sacco

It’s a real shame to see the Gfinity Arena close. It’s been home to many a memory made over the years and helped pave the way for other esports venues and broadcasts.

The Gfinity Arena was a premium broadcast space built both for TV and live viewing experiences, and gave a lot of people entry into the esports industry.

A generous mix of top players and talent have played at the Gfinity Arena, and at other Gfinity events prior to the opening of the venue. I’d like to take a moment to appreciate that – and what it has done for esports in the UK.

The Elite Series had its ups and downs, sure, but I hope it is remembered for trying something new and exciting.

reason gaming elite series 1
Reason Gaming is one of the UK esports orgs that achieved in the Elite Series

I also remember attending one of my first events after setting up Esports News UK there (the Vainglory event where I interviewed a young Vedius)!

I was really impressed by the arena, it had an air of quality to it, was built for broadcast and I loved how it was customisable depending on the game or event featured on stage. On a personal note, I wish we had seen more ticketed live audience focused events and League of Legends events there, but I understand why that wasn’t the case.

Gfinity has been going for more than 10 years now, and has evolved a lot in that time as it continues to chase profits and a good return on investment. I hope it finds them.

The London arena might not be a part of its latest evolution, but I won’t forget how it contributed to UK esports.

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