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Multimillion-pound football entertainment dome prepares for launch

Football and hospitality pro team develop industry first

Final preparation is happening at the multimillion-pound Ballerz dome arena – a new competitive socialising concept backed by big names in the footballing world.

Ballerz is being launched by former professional footballers Rio Ferdinand, Bobby Zamora, Roberto Carlos and Mark Noble, alongside property frontman Nick Weir and a team of sport and hospitality industry specialists. It will be a first for football-focused entertainment and the UK’s most immersive competitive socialising space.

The 30,000 sq ft Ballerz arena is located at Landsec’s Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent, one of Europe’s leading retail and leisure destinations. There has been £3 million investment in the Ballerz concept and fit-out, with exclusive tech developed to create the immersive experience.

The 500-capacity all-weather dome features an interactive skillzone and 5G pitch with stadium-style seating, players’ tunnel, pro changing rooms, and real-time pitch technology with big screen action replays on the sidelines. It will also be home to the Ballerz Cafe and Players’ Lounge, which will offer a full menu of light bites, mains, cocktails and drinks. The venue has been designed to host evening entertainment and corporate events too.

Ballerz co-founder, Nick Weir, who is also managing partner of leisure property consultants Shelley Sandzer, said: “We’ve brought together a passion for the game and teamed it with a premier all-day entertainment venue and the latest technology – to create a new concept for both kids and adults.

“There’s been a significant move towards competitive socialising in the hospitality industry – yet there remains a gap in the market when it comes to football. The trend is expected to grow further over the next five years, and we have plans to expand the Ballerz brand to other areas of the UK and internationally.”

Rio Ferdinand added: “Ballerz brings the thrill of the game to life. It’s designed to provide entertainment in a competitive space and to inspire the next football generation to have fun, get active and enjoy developing their skills.”

Mark Warne, Brand Account Director for Hospitality and Leisure at Landsec said: “Successful leisure concepts add value to retail destinations, giving guests more reasons to visit by providing an all-day experience. Competitive socialising venues in particular are growing in popularity and guests are looking to try something new.

“Ballerz is a unique concept which combines competitive socialising with fitness and skills training, allowing it to appeal to a wide range of audiences. Once open, its certain to enhance the leisure offer at the centre further, giving guests even more reasons to visit.”

The operational development team includes ex-Groucho Club managing director Matt Hobbs and former-Chelsea FC development coach Sam Hubert. Ben Childs, formerly of Puttshack has joined as operations director and hospitality agency – Bums On Seats – is heading up marketing and sales strategy, with a focus on delivering pre-booked business ahead of launch.

Ballerz is expected to attract 250,000 visitors in the first 12 months. It is creating 50 new jobs ready for the launch in May, including food and beverage, football coaching, tech and events staff.