Take a look inside British Esports Association's specialist campus in Sunderland

Esports is the competitive gaming of one on one, or teams of players.
Esports is the competitive gaming of one on one, or teams of players. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The UK’s first specialist esports campus is due to officially open in Sunderland.

The British Esports Association’s (BEA) National Esports Performance Campus (NEPC) has been created with the aim of supporting and nurturing the next generation of young gamers.

The multi-million-pound training and education complex, which offers people the chance to study diplomas, is on the site of a former car garage next to the Stadium of Light. It will also be home to the national team.

Worth billions around the world, esports is the competitive gaming of one on one, or teams of players.

  • ITV Tyne Tees got a sneak peak inside the new esports HQ

The body for esports, BEA, said it chose Sunderland for its new base because of the warm welcome it received from the city and its investment in 5G and fibre broadband.

BEA CEO Chester King said: "We just couldn't find the right venue and when we came here about 18 months ago, we found an incredible site and then with the local council from day one, them being so proactive, has really influenced us being here in Sunderland."

The site will host a performance centre, classrooms and an arena to host live tournaments. It will also run summer camps for international students and provide gaming accommodation.

Last year, the global industry was valued at over a billion pounds and is expected to grow to 1.5 billion pounds by 2025 with millions of viewers tuning in online and live events attended by thousands.

The esports campus is on the site of an old garage in Sunderland near the Stadium of Light. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Lawrence Bellamy, of Sunderland University, said: "Twenty-five per cent growth is more than likely and some of the top athletes will earn seven figure sums.

"So it's a serious industry, we know that we're going to get the top esports athletes coming to Sunderland, really puts us on the map in that area of industry."

The International Olympic Committee recently announced it is exploring plans to create the Olympic Esports Games and The University of Sunderland launched an Esports Event Management degree earlier this year to respond to increased demand in the gaming industry.

The campus is partnered with Sunderland College and is set to officially open within weeks.

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