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The British Esports Association (BEA) has announced that it will open an esports performance and education campus at Riverside Sunderland, which will nurture and support the next generation of talent, as interest and engagement in esports grows in the UK.

BEA has made a multi-million-pound commitment to the city of Sunderland, having acquired former retail premises adjacent to the Stadium of Light, where it will establish its National Esports Performance Campus (NEPC).

The NEPC 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.

The campus will offer educational and coaching courses for players and all other roles within the esports industry and feature dedicated esports classrooms, performance rooms, streaming booths for shoutcaster skills and an arena space. It will also play host to regular esports events, community tournaments, summer camps and be used as a training base for the Great Britain esports team, which recently took part in the Global Esports Games in Singapore.

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Chester King, chief executive officer at BEA, said: “The UK is Europe’s second-biggest video game market and ranked 6th globally – this speaks to the potential of esports which will capitalise on gaming’s popularity, with talented competitors emerging and a growing audience keen to spectate and enjoy esports as a leisure activity. This is a market that we know will explode in the UK and we want to support its growth.”

“Sunderland is a hugely ambitious and future-focused city and that aligns very much to BEA and esports, which has vast growth potential and ties into Sunderland’s strengths in gaming, digital and sport. The campus will be an inspirational site, a place for players and coaches to work, learn and develop. This is a much-needed facility and through my team’s experiences we understand its importance.”

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Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, said: “Esports has been a phenomenal global success, and it is a huge growth market in the UK, that will be realised over the coming years. BEA’s move puts Sunderland at the beating heart of that, and we couldn’t be more pleased.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “This is a truly game-changing development for Sunderland, and we could not be more excited about having BEA choose the city for its NEPC.”

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