Plans revealed for multi-purpose and digital ‘esports arena’ in Dundee as part of rejuvenation of waterfront

Plans have been revealed for a multi-purpose digital and ‘esports arena’ as part of the £1bn waterfront regeneration project in Dundee.

The 4,000-capacity venue in the city would be sited next to Slessor Gardens and close to the V&A museum in the city, and would feature an esports academy for further and higher education, alongside conventional leisure, indoor sporting events, retail and live/workspace.

An announcement by Northern Lights Arena Europe Limited (NLAE) of an 18-month exclusivity agreement with Dundee City Council allows the company to progress initial design concepts, strategic advice and expertise.

NLAE is already working with Abertay University, Europe’s top ranked institution for video games education, to maximise the educational benefits of this project. As part of the project, Abertay intends to develop a new range of degree courses related to the global esports job market, with students gaining access to bespoke facilities within the arena complex. Abertay’s local college partner, Dundee & Angus College, would also be part of the project, ensuring opportunities for involvement are provided for young people across the region.

Cutting edge facilities and technical infrastructure for the arena and academic campus will be designed with Nottingham Trent University’s Creative Technology faculty, Confetti. Technology partners including Amazon Web Services, and low-carbon energy provider Vital Energi will guarantee that Dundee has a state-of-the-art facility for the 21st century. 

Chris Turner, NLAE CEO 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 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 $1billion globally each year.”

esports is a massive international growth market with its popularity soaring in recent years, reaching a worldwide audience of nearly 500 million and revenues of almost $1 billion in 2019, according to gaming analytics company Newzoo.

This week David Beckham’s esports franchise Guild Esports confirmed plans to list on the London Stock Exchange. The former England football captain wants to build a global sports franchise modeled on the English Premier League, NBA and NFL. It will float 40% of its shares next month and hopes to raise £20 million ($25.9 million) to recruit new players and invest in the business. Electronic sports features multiple professional players competing in video games that can be watched at physical venues or through digital channels.