Esports and video game services company Gfinity has entered into a five-year agreement with Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management (ADMM), it announced on Thursday, to design, develop and deliver a new virtual motorsport racing championship, or ‘ERC’. The AIM-trade firm said it would jointly own the ERC with ADMM. It said the championship would combine its expertise in esports and competitive gaming entertainment, with ADMM’s ability to create world class experiences, including the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The ERC concept, created by Gfinity, was based on a format the company said had not been seen in virtual racing before, and would feature “some of the fastest” professional simulation racing drivers, with a roster of teams from digital motorsport.
There would be two seasons in each calendar year, with the first taking place in 2020. The races would be hosted by Gfinity, with drivers joining remotely, competing behind the wheel of a bespoke, single-seater car. Gfinity said its proprietary technology, ‘Race Control’, would be used for in-race adjudication and data feeds, delivering “new levels of insight” to fans about driver and car performance.
It explained that the format was designed to capitalise on the growing appetite for digital motorsport from international broadcasters, providing multiple hours of programming per season to a range of partners, accompanied by new dedicated ERC digital channels, maximising the global audience reach and commercial opportunities.
Under the terms of the agreement, Gfinity would provide services to the ERC, including production and tournament operations, with both ADMM and Gfinity jointly responsible for commercialising the championship. The Gfinity Digital Media group would work with ADMM’s marketing and social media teams to build the new channels, and a global community of gamer racing fans under the ERC brand, supported by promotion and support from the company’s existing gaming community of 11 million users.
That, the board said, would be supported by the Arabic language site ‘Real Gaming 101’, which targets the more-than-93 million gaming fans in the Middle East and North Africa region, and was created by Gfinity in partnership with YaLLa Esports in April. “Motorsports is a key pillar of our strategy and we are excited to be entering into a long-term partnership with Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management,” said chief executive officer John Clarke.
“We have a shared passion for the Esports Racing Championship and a desire to build a product that will sit alongside the biggest brands in motorsport.” Clarke said there are “millions of gamers” that love racing. “We have created a format that will excite and draw them into the ERC, giving sponsors and advertisers the opportunity to engage with this typically hard to reach audience.”