1,500 seater esports venue proposed in Bristol, England

A new creative-technology education faculty and 1,500-seater esports arena is being proposed in Bristol for South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS).

Credit: Glenn Howells, Architects Limited

NLA Europe Limited (NLAE) have been invited by SGS College to bring forward proposals for a new ‘creative-technology and esports-education centre-of-excellence’ at its West of England Institute for Specialist Education (WISE) Further Education College site.

NLAE will be submitting detailed proposals for the enhancement of the existing WISE campus, which could include the new esports education facility.

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The new faculty would include a circa 1,400-to-1,500-seat, ‘world-class’ esports arena with a global digital-streaming capability.  This technology will be designed and delivered by NLAE’s partnership with the global technology provider, Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS will also be designing and participating in the delivery of the cloud-based education content to be provided by the new faculty.

Vital Energi, one of the UK’s largest independent renewable-energy companies, will work with NLAE and SGS to deliver a zero-carbon energy solution for the new development.

Chris Turner, CEO of NLAE, commented: “By working with SGS to deliver world-class, future-proof digital education and esports training and events facilities, the proposed WISE faculty development will put Bristol and the South West firmly on the global esports map.

“Having been born in South Gloucestershire and graduated from Bristol University, it is a privilege for me to be leading a project that will deliver economic and employment opportunities for socially disadvantaged school leavers and a major reskilling opportunity for Bristol’s existing workforce in the digital industries of the future.”

NLAE recently announced their first multi-million-pound 4,000-seat esports arena and campus for the City of Dundee, in partnership with Abertay University, Dundee and Angus College, Amazon Web Services Educate, and Dundee City Council.

The Bristol project would be the next major education-technology/esports project in NLAE’s UK portfolio, and has a target opening date of September 2023.

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The WISE Campus in Bristol’s SGS College is already planning to open a new £7m Specialist Technology and Science building, funded by the West of England Combined Authority, in March 2021. This was reportedly the catalyst for NLAE’s interest in the site.

Keith Hamblin, CEO of the SGS Group, added: “This announcement is the next step towards a development that would put creative technology and esports at the heart of the region. We have always prided ourselves on giving students education and training that meets the demands of the changing jobs market, and as such this investment with two leading organisations would put us at the forefront of one of the world’s fastest-growing industries.

“This private-sector investment in the skills education of the West of England is a testament to the faith in the future of the creative sector in the South West as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Esports Insider says: Digital industries, including esports, continue to grow year-on-year, hence the need to provide modern educational facilities for younger generations. According to UKIE, esports contributed around £110m to the British economy in 2019, and with the development of world-class esports venues, the region will attract more top esports events. This is very exciting news for the UK — particularly for those in and around the west of England!

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