08 September 2020

Plans could see 4,000 seat arena and esports academy at Dundee Waterfront

Plans could see 4,000 seat arena and esports academy on Dundee's Waterfront

A concept image of what the new digital arena would look like

ABOVE: What the new arena would look like (c) Ian Ritchie Architects, Ltd

An exciting new development involving Abertay University could bring a revolutionary new digital arena that could be used for esports to Dundee’s billion-pound waterfront. 

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. 

The 4,000 seat multi-purpose arena could provide educational, economic, entertainment and employment opportunities for Dundee, and would host an e-sports academy for further and higher education alongside conventional leisure, indoor sporting events, retail and live/workspace.

It is to be located near the prestigious V&A Dundee adjacent to the Tay Road Bridge and will be a significant new addition to the landscape of the city. 

Abertay is already working with NLAE 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 e-sports job market, with students gaining access to bespoke facilities within the arena complex.

 “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." - Professor Gregor White, Abertay University

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. 

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.”

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."

Simon Hewitt, Principal of Dundee & Angus College said: “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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