Where are the gaps in the UK market?

Map of UK and Ireland with regions highlighted

It’s possible that some of the first exit game room proprietors might have started business in the closest big city to where they happened to already live. However, if you had a choice as to where to set up business, where are the most obvious gaps in the market? Alternatively, where might people expect to see exit rooms coming soon?

The Brookings Institution analysed 300 of the largest metropolitan economies in late 2012 and identified 15 of them as being in the UK. At time of writing, here are the 15 largest metropolitan economies in the UK, alongside the number of exit rooms featured in each one. If there’s a large metropolitan economy without an exit room, there’s arguably a gap in the market there.

1. London: two sites operating (HintHunt, clueQuest)
2. Birmingham: one site operating (Keyhunter)
3. Manchester: one site under construction (Puzzlescape)
4. Leeds-Bradford: no sites operating or under construction known
5. Liverpool: no sites operating or under construction known
6. Glasgow: no sites operating or under construction known
7. Nottingham-Derby: no sites operating or under construction known
8. Portsmouth-Southampton: no sites operating or under construction known
9. Bristol: one site operating (Cryptopia)
10. Newcastle: no sites operating or under construction known
11. Sheffield: no sites operating or under construction known
12. Cardiff-Newport: no sites operating or under construction known
13. Edinburgh: no sites operating or under construction known
14. Leicester: one site operating (Cipher)
15. Brighton: one site under construction (Live Escape Game)

For reference, while the list of metropolitan areas organised by economy size does not exactly match the list of metropolitan areas organised by population, the other existent sites operating are ESCAP3D in Belfast (13th by population) and Ex(c)iting Game in Oxford (33rd by population). For comparison, the Dublin metro area (where XIT is in operation) would come just below number three in the above list.

So this would tend to point to Manchester, West Yorkshire, Merseyside, Glasgow and the East Midlands as being the biggest gaps in the market at the moment. Less scientifically, I have a suspicion that Blackpool still retains its cachet as the most popular seaside resort and might yet support a site. I’m not saying where I live, but it’s not one of the metropolitan areas listed above!

3 Comments

  1. Interesting analysis! Hope it prods people into action.

    Kind of confirms my calculation last year that Ipswich is too small to sustain one (yet), as we don’t have significant numbers of tourists here like Oxford (which is a similar size) does.

    Reply
    • I’m sure it’s just coincidence that I posted that on March 10th and Make A Break opened in Manchester, my top suspect, on March 16th.

      Yes, this is the sort of thing I would do if I knew that a site were to be just about to open, but sadly nobody tells me these things in advance. Yet…

      Reply

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