Esports

NLA Europe begins designing esports arena in Dundee


New development group Northern Lights Arena Europe Limited (NLAE) has signed an 18-month exclusivity agreement with Dundee City Council on a new entertainment centre.

The agreement allows the company to progress initial design concepts, strategic advice and expertise on the arena and continue developments with Dundee & Angus College and Abertay University on further and higher education opportunities through a new esports academy.

NLAE Esports Arena Dundee
Credit: Ian Ritchie Architects

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The proposed site is located in the billion-pound precinct of Slessor Gardens, which sits between Dundee’s central business district andV&A Dundee, along the River Tay. Proposals for the arena include a 4,000 seat multi-purpose arena that can be used for esports events, a dedicated esports academy for further and higher education, as well as space for conventional leisure, indoor sporting events, and retail and business outlets. 

On the company’s first venture, Chris Turner, CEO of NLAE, commented that he is “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.”

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As part of the project, Abertay University intends to develop a new range of degree courses related to the global esports job market that will offer students access to services and facilities within the arena complex. 

Professor Gregor White, Dean of Abertay University’s School of Design and Informatics is enthusiastic about “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.”

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University of Abertay’s local college partner, Dundee & Angus College will also offer college-age students opportunities to get involved in esports as part of their further education qualifications. Simon Hewitt, Principal of Dundee & Angus College said that the college is “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.”

The proposed arena and esports academy are expected to provide huge benefits to the city, Mark Flynn, Convener of Dundee City Council’s City Development Committee noted that “agreeing [to] 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.”

Esports Insider says: This is an ambitious proposal with a lot of moving parts and collaborative working. NLAE is yet to publicly launch, but with this project, it’s looking to make its mark as a developer of multi-purpose entertainment and education hubs. Partnering with local education providers and working closely with the council is also good to see, as it will hopefully translate into jobs, opportunities, and capital circulating within the region. 

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