Global entertainment brand to open pioneering centre in Manchester

NAX at Trafford Palazzo

A family entertainment centre, creating around 50 jobs, is set to open in Manchester next summer.

Manchester-based leisure group, Rocafella Leisure, has secured the rights for NERF Action Xperience (NAX) with US entertainment company, Hasbro, to bring NAX to the UK, with an opening in Trafford Palazzo.

It will be the prelude to the start of a UK-wide and overseas roll-out of NAX venues.

NERF is a toy brand owned by Hasbro. Most of the toys are a variety of foam-based weaponry, with other NERF products including balls for sports such as American football, basketball, and baseball. The best known toys are dart guns, or ‘blasters’, that shoot ammunition made from NERF foam.

Each NAX centre will provide guests with a multitude of NERF-fuelled indoor activities to explore. They will comprise three different zones in a purpose-built and immersive environment.

The competition zone allows groups to battle it out with different NERF blasters in three immersive themed arenas. The sports zone features a huge atrium of NERF-related sports challenges, including basketball and football volley. And there is a dedicated training zone to hone players’ targeting skills.

Matt Proulx, vice president location based entertainment at Hasbro Inc, said: “The NERF Action Xperience in Manchester is an immersive, action-packed activity for families and NERF fans of all ages.

“Hasbro is continually introducing innovative experiences for consumers – and we’re excited to partner with Rocafella Leisure to bring the NAX experience to fans throughout the UK.”

Working in partnership with Peel L&P, owner of the newly-rebranded Trafford Palazzo, work has already begun transforming a prominent 35,000 sq ft unit into the UK’s first dedicated NAX centre.

Mark Whittaker, executive director property investment and management for Peel L&P, said: “We are really excited to welcome NERF Action Experience to Trafford Palazzo and cannot wait to see the doors open. The brand aligns perfectly with all existing operators and will, I’m sure, be extremely popular with visitors, old and new.

“Over the past year, we have focused on developing an activations and events strategy within our mall space which has attracted significant interest and demonstrates the power of creating experiences for customers within a shopping environment. We are excited to develop our strategy and offering further experiences to bring some spectacular collaborations to Trafford Palazzo.”

Partnering NAX in providing guests with refreshments will be Manchester-based food and beverage business, Archie’s, providing visitors with its burgers, shakes and waffles, while delivering children’s parties for NAX, all from a prominent position in Trafford Plazzo that will attract passing footfall to boost its own sales.

Amer Rafiq, co-founder of Archie’s, said: “Working together with NAX we have taken our iconic pink restaurants and fused it with the family fun-fuelled values of NERF to create a unique dining experience, particularly for parties and celebrations.”

CGI of planned facility

Once up and running, the NAX family entertainment centre will create almost 50 jobs within the local leisure and hospitality sector.

Chris Hayes, Rocafella Leisure Group chief executive, said: “It has been a huge and momentous effort by all my team to finally turn this exciting project into reality.

“We want NERF Action Experience to become a brand leader in the world of family entertainment and leisure attractions. Offering something different for the people of Manchester, and beyond, to visit during the week, weekends and in the holidays.”

He added: “Our intention is to become a beacon of innovation, dynamic customer service and an all-round provider of fun-fuelled activities for all ages that inspire the youth of today to stay active.

“This first opening will mark the start of multiple NAX venues popping up across the country and overseas over the next five to 10 years. Not only are we creating a place for families, and adults, to experience NERF beyond their own homes, we will transport them to an immersive space where they can play with the freedom to challenge, compete, and take home bragging rights – if they wish.”