Esports to Open a Campus in Sunderland

Esports to Open a Campus in Riverside, Sunderland.
The North East is making a bid to take a lead in the fast-growing esports sector after sealing a deal to bring a centre of excellence for computer gaming to the region.

The British Esports Association (BEA) – the national body for esports – is to open a performance and education campus at Riverside Sunderland which aims to support the next generation of talent in gaming in the UK.

BEA has acquired a former car dealership next to the Stadium of Light, where it will establish its National Esports Performance Campus.

Esports – an abbreviation of electronic sports – is competitive video gaming played by individuals and teams and has grown in recent years to attract huge global audiences, with prizes sometimes stretching to millions of pounds.

It is hoped the Sunderland campus will become a centre of excellence and help the North East become a globally-recognised esports hub capable of attracting and developing the world’s best talent. It will also deliver educational and coaching courses for players in the esports industry and young people hoping to forge careers in esports.

The campus will open in the summer, with the former Lookers being refurbished and extended so that it can host events, community tournaments, summer camps and be used as a training base for the Great Britain esports team.

Chester King, chief executive officer at BEA, said: “The UK is Europe’s second biggest video game market and ranked sixth globally – this speaks to the potential of esports which will capitalise on gaming’s popularity, with talented competitors emerging and a growing audience keen to spectate and enjoy esports as a leisure activity. This is a market that we know will explode in the UK and we want to support its growth.

“Sunderland is a hugely ambitious and future-focused city and that aligns very much to BEA and esports, which has vast growth potential and ties into Sunderland’s strengths in gaming, digital and sport.”

The move will initially create 20 jobs but it hoped that the wider significance of the plan will come if the campus succeeds in bringing esports enthusiasts to the area as fans and helps develop skills among youngsters in the region.

Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to support BEA in making this incredible commitment to our city, which is testament to the ambition and vision we have for Sunderland, and their confidence in it.

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