Plans for construction of new esports arena in Sunderland approved

Plans for construction of new esports arena in Sunderland approved

15 August 2023

If you have been following our publications from time to time, you will know that the Sunderland region is quickly growing into a major hub for esports in the UK. At the start of this year, for example, the University of Sunderland announced that it was going to start offering degrees in esports management, while last year we reported on the British Esports Association officially opening the brand-new National Esports Performance Campus (NEPC), located right next to Sunderland AFC’s famous Stadium of Light. Part of that multi-million-pound project is the construction of a landmark esports arena and there has been good news in that regard recently, because the Sunderland City Council’s planning department has approved the construction plans.

Former car show room

The new esports arena will be built near the Stadium of Light, off Stadium way, where a former car show room was located. The location had been granted planning permission back in May of 2022, when the city’s development officials gave permission for ‘education and recreation use with ancillary offices’. A few months later, a two-storey side extension was approved as well, which gives you an idea of what the new esports arena will look like. The city planners published the official approvement of the proposal on August 1st, 2023.

As can be taken away from the plans, the idea is to build a main esports arena with more than 200 seats and a whole host of other facilities. These include a large room with arcade games, screens and a DJ booth, a separate retail area, a bar with kitchen, a studio plus green room, and a VIP area. On top of that, the project will also contain several facilities aimed at professional esports exclusively, including pre-tournament rooms, staff offices, a main reception area, and various toilets.

Regular esports events and training camps

The main purpose of the brand-new National Esports Performance Centre in Sunderland is to support and nurture the next generation of esports talent in the UK. The venue will host regular esports events and will also be used as a training base for Great Britain’s national esports team. Team GB will use the campus to prepare for major tournaments, like the European Games Esports Championships that took place in the Polish city of Katowice earlier this summer. While no information in this regard has been revealed yet by the project’s developers, the expectation is that the NEPC will be opening its doors sometime next year.

“The NEPC [National Esports Performance Centre] will become a centre of excellence, providing access to state-of-the-art equipment, training and investment that will support Sunderland, the North-East and the UK to become a globally recognised esports hub capable of attracting and developing the world’s best esports talent”, states the submitted planning application on the Sunderland City Council’s planning portal website.