Valhallan, the largest youth esports franchise in the US, is excited to announce the signing of its first UK franchisees, Dr Amit Sra and Vivek Behl. The duo, who are childhood friends turned entrepreneurs, plan to open the first Valhallan arena in the UK early this year in Ealing. The arena will provide young gamers with a balance of education and competition, while also teaching valuable life skills such as sportsmanship and teamwork.
Valhallan was launched last year in the US, recognising the lack of existing programmes that showed young people and their parents the benefits of video games and how they can bring people together and enrich lives. Amit and Vivek, who are both fathers of two, are the first to respond to the demand for dedicated esports education in the UK that teaches gaming and life skills to children in a fun, safe, and inclusive space.
“Valhallan’s fantastic business model and the lack of such spaces in the UK meant we were confident that the success seen in the US could be attained here,” said Vivek. “There is a need for an inclusive and engaging space where young gamers can connect. Our overarching aim is to bring a community spirit into play and make our arena a pivotal place where young people can network and socialise while learning valuable gaming and life skills.”
“It’s really important for us to focus on the emotional wellness of young people as well as teaching them the physical skillset of gaming and esports,” said Amit. “There are many young people on the spectrum and others who struggle meeting new people, so our intention behind Valhallan is to encourage individuals to come out of their shells and socialise with others in a supported environment that helps build their confidence.”
Combining Amit and Vivek’s educational and medical backgrounds, the pair are keen to help young people in their local area, break the stereotype around gamers and make their arena a social hub for players from all backgrounds. “There is such a huge demographic of young people who love video games, and there is a growing demand from parents and players for healthy outlets, made clear by the brand’s success in the US,” explained Vivek. “After witnessing how the world reacted to the pandemic and how playing video games in our homes was one of the ways that young people could stay in touch, I noticed there was a need for an inclusive and engaging space where young gamers can connect.”
Valhallan’s CEO, David Graham, is proud to see the brand expand to the UK and to have Amit and Vivek launch the first arena here to help improve the lives of young people. “The need for a destination-based esports hub for young people who love gaming that combines education and competition has been clear in the US,” said David. “Nothing like Valhallan exists currently in the UK, and I’m thrilled to see our first franchisees respond to this demand, guiding players to realise their potential across the pond.”
David is not the only one setting his sights on expansion in the future. By launching in Greater London, Vivek and Amit are already looking to grow and reach more of the area’s vast gamer population throughout 2023. ““Ealing is just the beginning for us,” said Amit. “After our first location is up and running, we hope to open another six arenas across the region.”
After a successful launch in the US and the recent acquisitions of NXT UP Esports, the United Federation of Esports Athletes and the North American Esports League, and now the first UK franchisees signed up, the brand further solidifies itself as the largest youth esports franchise.