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International football icons kick off Ballerz launch as they gear up for the Euros

Entertainment / Fri 24th May 2024 at 02:57pm

BALLERZ has officially launched its first venue with big names in football among the first to visit the
immersive competitive socialising football dome – and more than 1000 visitors welcomed over the opening weekend.

Ahead of opening to the public on Saturday 18 May, its star-studded Battle of the Ballerz tournament took place (on 16 May). Names from the world of football, music and entertainment tested out the tech at the launch of Ballerz, located at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.

A team of sports and hospitality industry specialists have been involved in the development of Ballerz, including former pro footballers – Rio Ferdinand, Bobby Zamora, Roberto Carlos and Mark Noble. Some of Ballerz’s football founders took to the pitch with former England player Joe Cole, professional freestyler Harriet Pavlou and Wolves manager Gary O’Neil. Other players included members of the Charlton Athletic squad, former City centre-back Joleon Lescott, DJ Joel Corry, DJ Mark Knight, and many others from the entertainment and sports industry.

Ballerz is a multimillion-pound, approximately 30,000 sq ft football dome, which has created a mix of training, gaming and entertainment, with specially developed pro pitch technology and immersive effects. In the runup to the launch, local grassroots youth teams also had the opportunity to test out the tech-loaded 5G pitch, developed specially for Ballerz.

It has been designed so players of all skill levels can experience the beautiful game like never before – with stadium-like immersive tech. It features a tunnel and walkout experience, FX lighting, real-time crowd noises and goal highlights shown on-site and easily sharable to social media.

As well as the state-of-the-art 6-a-side stadium pitch, Ballerz has a SkillZone, which challenges players to seven football fitness games that test technical, physical and mental skill. Performance is tracked by Ballerz QR wristbands – so players can challenge their own personal bests and see if they beat the scores of the Ballerz football legends.

The Ballerz team is also gearing up for a series of big match screenings in the dome – kicking off with this weekend’s FA Cup final and running throughout the Euros. Fans can book a place in one of Ballerz’s social spaces, enjoy the hospitality and watch the match.

Rio Ferdinand said: “We’ve developed a tech-loaded pitch and immersive atmosphere for those who love to play and watch the beautiful game. There’re loads of unique touches that are creating a space to socialise, compete and have fun.”

Parker Howard, the Director of Experience and Technology at Ballerz, said: “Our goal was to pioneer a unique concept by introducing a football entertainment venue housed within our air dome – featuring a mini football stadium loaded with cutting-edge tech and a digitally enhanced competitive social SkillZone.

“We were particularly focused on ensuring that people of all ages and skill levels could experience that very same feeling of their idols playing under the lights in a Champions League match. This required crafting an immersive experience around playing football, complete with pro dressing rooms, LED tunnel and walk-outs onto our 5G pitch, real-time crowd ambiance and reactions, dynamic stadium lighting, and instant match highlights shareable to socials at the final whistle. Making memories and capturing them is a central ethos within the Ballerz DNA.”

James Waugh, Centre Director at Bluewater, said: “Since the concept for Ballerz was created, we have been eagerly anticipating the official opening. The Ballerz dome has surpassed our own expectations, and it truly brings something totally unique to Bluewater. Our guests were excited when bookings opened and we have no doubt that they’ll be delighted on their first visits.”

Ballerz is an all-day competitive socialising venue and provides football coaching for kids of all ages and abilities, Ballerz leagues, sessions in the SkillZone, events, and evening entertainment. The venue also has a gaming lounge, Ballerz Café and The Heineken Lounge bar and restaurant.

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