Mentioned in this article
- VERITAS Entertainment will open a 2,500m²+ (+26,000ft²+) gaming community center at Berlin’s Checkpoint Charlie on March 26.
- The LVL facility will include a soundproof esports arena, content creation studio, and restaurant, and will host team organization G2 Esports.
- BITKRAFT Esports Ventures and additional angel investors participated in a $10M USD funding round to build LVL, plus allow for global expansion.
VERITAS Entertainment will open LVL, a 2,500m²+ (+26,000ft²+) gaming and esports community center in Berlin, on the back of a $10M funding round. Officially opening to the public on March 26., LVL is expected to welcome at least 250,000 visitors per year, and host 130 live events annually, setting up a model for future esports hubs around the world.
LVL’s ground floor will feature console, arcade, and VR gaming stations, along with a merchandise shop. It will also serve as the new central venue and training ground for team organization G2 Esports, whose players in League of Legends, Rainbow Six Siege, and other games will be able to bootcamp, create content, and interact with fans. Financial terms between VERITAS and G2 were not disclosed.
“Think of it like Hard Rock Cafe meets Soho House, but for esports and gaming,” said Dorian Gorr, managing director and co-founder of VERITAS Entertainment. “I hate when people call it a gaming cafe or arena, because that’s not it. For me it’s really a community center and hub.
“We are all building our childhood dream here,” he added. “For us, it’s something where a lot of passion goes into all these little details, because people are building something they would enjoy as customers themselves.”
Central to the ground floor will be a burger restaurant and cafe. Food will be prepared by a culinary robot—developed by iconmobile, which is led by VERITAS co-founder and chairman Thomas Feliger.
The lower floor of LVL will feature a dedicated esports arena. While live esports events usually provide players with white-noise blasting headphones or boxed soundproof booths, the LVL arena will house competitors in a noise-canceling dome structure. Around the arena, there will also be a bar, cinema area, and LAN-zone with 50 gaming PCs.
While specific events are not announced yet, Gorr noted that tournaments lined up are across multiple core esports titles, to sports titles and mobile.
The $10M funding round featured participation from BITKRAFT Esports Ventures and additional angel investors. Exact investments were undisclosed. Gorr explained that the capital primarily funded the construction and operation of VERITAS’ first Berlin facility, and will also be used for initial exploration into other markets.
No expansion location is officially confirmed yet, but Gorr said the company sees prospects in New York and in Scandanavian, Spanish, and South American markets.
“I can’t put enough emphasis on how important it is for us to really build a venue brand. That LVL stands for something. That it has its own identity, tone of voice, feeling, and attitude,” he said, noting there would be hard-cap on how often LVL can be hired, and that half of all events would be LVL-branded.
“If you’re just a rental space that hosts a different tournament organizer, publisher, or brand that organizes a tournament and gives it their identity on a weekly basis, you will never be that.”
Aside from hospitality revenue through its restaurant and bar, LVL will offer pay-by-hour and membership use of its gaming PCs and consoles, will rent out its esports arena and other event spaces, streaming, and content studios. Once the facility opens, LVL will also launch its own 24/7 esports gaming channel on Twitch and YouTube, featuring content created in-house in its production studio.
Gorr said that the pricing for the LAN and content hire would be moderately priced, as the company puts its focus on turning its events into content, and in turn attracting brands.
“The regular real estate business model is you, at the end, calculate how much money I make per square meter or square feet,” said Gorr. “Through unique content marketing, and bringing in brands, we increase the reach steadily. We can actually provide them a business model on top of this that is scalable, to some extent.”
Alongside G2 Esports, the company has 11 commercial partners supporting LVL. While these companies could not yet be disclosed, their presence in the space will include sponsorship of a VIP lounge and supply of PC gaming components and peripherals.
LVL is located in Checkpoint Charlie, a former border crossing between East and West Berlin, which has developed into one of the city’s most visited tourist attractions. European capital cities are seeing a rise in dedicated gaming and esports facilities; notable examples include Space’s 7,500 sq. m (80,729. sq. ft.) gaming and music center in Stockholm (opening 2021), Team Vitality’s V-Hive headquarters in Paris, and the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London.
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