The British Esports Association is set to establish an esports performance and education centre in Sunderland ©BEA

The British Esports Association (BEA) is opening an esports performance and education campus in Sunderland aimed at nurturing and supporting athletes as interest and engagement in the sport grows in Britain.

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

The NEPC will provide access to state-of-the-art equipment, training and investment that is hoped to support Sunderland, the North East and the whole country to become a globally recognised esports hub.

"The UK is Europe’s second biggest video game market and ranked sixth 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," said Chester King, chief executive of BEA.

"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 National Esports Performance Centre is set to host regular events and tournaments at its Sunderland campus ©Getty Images
The National Esports Performance Centre is set to host regular events and tournaments at its Sunderland campus ©Getty Images

"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."

The campus will offer educational and coaching courses for players and all other roles within the esports industry.

It will boast dedicated esports classrooms, performance rooms, streaming booths for learning commentary skills and an arena space.

"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," said Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council.

"BEA’s move puts Sunderland at the beating heart of that, and we couldn’t be more pleased."

The NEPC will also play host to regular events, tournaments, summer camps and be used as a training base for Britain's esports team, which recently took part in the Global Esports Games in Singapore.

"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," said Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council.