Dundee Waterfront site earmarked for 4,000-capacity esports arena

A new 4,000 capacity facility centred on the burgeoning esports market could be headed for a prominent site at the billion-pound Dundee Waterfront development.

A design concept for the arena by Ian Ritchie Architects

Dundee City Council has entered into an 18-month exclusivity agreement with Northern Lights Arena Europe Limited (NLAE) that allows the company to progress initial design concepts and gain strategic advice and expertise regarding the multi-purpose digital arena.

Esports is sports competitions using computer games, with teams often competing for multi-million-pound prize pots in the rapidly growing sport.

NLAE will develop plans for sites 10 and 11 on the Waterfront plan, to the east of Slessor Gardens, for the future arena would also host an esports academy for further and higher education, alongside conventional leisure, indoor sporting events, retail and live/workspace.

The company has entered into agreements with Abertay University and Dundee and Angus College to provide facilities to students on esports related courses.

NLAE chief executive Chris Turner said: “We are delighted to be able to announce Dundee as the first of several multi-million-pound projects that the NLAE team is working on.

“We have been impressed with the forward-looking approach of Dundee City Council and their ambition to have a world class public space at the heart of Dundee.

“NLAE is working with global technology partners, including Amazon Web Services, to provide unparalleled facilities and experiences.

“NLAE is working with Vital Energi to develop and deliver a low carbon energy solution for all NLAE projects and other local customers in Dundee City Centre.”

Mark Flynn, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said: “Agreeing on an exclusivity arrangement with NLAE is the best way forward to allow what is an exciting and potentially winning development the time and space needed to undertake feasibility studies and advance outline proposals. As a thriving and recognised cradle for games development, I can think of no better place for such a complex to be.”

Professor Gregor White, dean of Abertay University’s School of Design and Informatics, said: “We are delighted to be involved in bringing forward this exciting partnership-led development for Dundee, which has the potential to make a significant contribution to the future development of Scotland’s digital economy. Abertay has an international reputation for excellence in the video games sector and is ideally placed to lead the educational delivery aspects of this project, with a view to opening up a new graduate talent pipeline to the esports industry, which is worth more than $1 billion globally each year.”

Simon Hewitt, principal of Dundee & Angus College, added: “This is an amazing opportunity for the city and the wider region to build on the fantastic educational partnerships and experiences we already provide within the creative sector. Dundee & Angus College are proud to be a partner in this exciting and innovative project that will create more opportunities to develop new and existing skills to support the growth of Scotland’s digital economy.”

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