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New Digital Arena on the Cards for Dundee Waterfront

Michael Behr

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Dundee digital arena

The digital arena is being developed in cooperation with Abertay University, a major player in video game education.

Dundee’s billion-pound Waterfront could become the site of a new multi-purpose digital arena which aims provide a venue for a range of events, including esports.

The arena would have around 4,000 seats and an esports academy for further and higher education, along with conventional leisure, indoor sporting events, retail and live/workspace. Once built, the arena will provide a space for educational, economic, entertainment and employment events.

The project is at the initial design concepts stage, under an 18-month exclusivity agreement signed between Northern Lights Arena Europe (NLAE) and Dundee City Council. The arena’s planned location is next to Slessor Gardens, which is used for outdoor events, and opposite the recently finished V&A Dundee.

NLAE CEO Chris Turner 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.”

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.”

NLAE is currently working alongside Abertay University, Europe’s top ranked institution for video games education, to maximise the educational benefits of the arena.

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In turn, Abertay aims to develop a new range of degree courses related to the global esports job market. Abertay students will be able to use the digital arena complex’s bespoke esports facilities as part of their education.

Abertay’s local college partner, Dundee & Angus College, will also be part of the project.

Dean of Abertay University’s School of Design and Informatics, Professor Gregor White, said the project could 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 $1 billion globally each year,” he said.

Michael Behr

Senior Staff Writer

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