Esports arena coming to Cool Springs | Retail

A global esports holding company has picked Nashville to be one of its first U.S. markets as it plots a push to open 500 gaming centers by 2026.

Vindex’s Belong Gaming Arenas division plans to open a center in the Cool Springs area — details are still being finalized — late this summer or early in the fall. The facility will offer local gamers practice space and host competitions, both local and against teams based in other Belong arenas around the country. Plans call for a Nashville-specific team to form for those intercity competitions.

Belong Gaming Arenas can take up anywhere between 4,000 and 14,000 square feet, with the largest able to hold up to 120 gamers at one time. The Belong concept was launched and developed in the United Kingdom, where it has 25 locations that feature personal computers as well as PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles.

Vindex, which is based in New York, acquired Belong last year and has raised $300 million to build out a national network of arenas. The first of those has opened the Pearland area of Houston and is set to be joined soon by spots in Dallas, Chicago and Columbus as well as Nashville.

“Since launching Major League Gaming nearly 20 years ago, it’s been a dream of mine to make the professional esports experience accessible to hometowns across America,” Vindex Co-Founder and CEO Mike Sepso said in a statement. “Through Belong, we are establishing the baseball diamonds and football pitches of esports and gaming to supply the talent development pipeline and grow fandom as the industry continues to mature.”

Belong isn’t the first esports company to set up shop in Middle Tennessee. In 2019, California-based Esports Arena opened a gaming center inside a Hendersonville Walmart store.

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