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Former Lookers Audi dealership to become eSport gamers' centre of excellence

Former Lookers dealership site

Lookers’ former Audi car dealership in Sunderland is set to become a ‘Mecca’ for gamers through a multi-million transformation into an eSports centre of excellence.

The British Esports Association (BEA) has acquired the AM100 car retail PLC’s former dealership, near to Sunderland AFC’s Stadium of Light, and has revealed plans to create its new National Esports Performance Campus (NEPC), featuring classrooms and a performance arena.

The BEA said that the venture would help promote Sunderland, the North East and the UK as a globally-recognised esports hub capable of attracting and developing the world’s best eSports talent.

BEA chief executive, Chester King, 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.

British Esports Association's artist's impression of how the former Lookers site will look“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.”

Patrick Melia, the 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.”

Competitive gaming is now big, business with global online tournaments offering prizes of millions of pounds and attracting large audiences.

Lookers moved its Wearside Audi operation to a new £5.7 million premises, on Newcastle Road, back in 2017.

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