A new dedicated esports arena in Dundee could attract thousands of tourists from far afield, according to a European gaming venue.
Earlier this week the Tele reported on proposals to potentially build a 4,000 seater esports arena on the waterfront with hopes it will cement Dundee’s reputation as the gaming capital of Europe.
Esports tournaments worldwide attract scores of dedicated fans who are willing to travel and spend money to get a seat at these exclusive events.
The Tele spoke to the operators Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany which hosts the well-established ESL One Cologne esports tournament each year.
The event draws in thousands of spectators to the city annually, many of whom would never normally consider travelling to the city.
A spokesman said: “We have hosted several esports tournaments in Cologne.
“Since 2015 we rent the arena to the ESL for the ESL One Cologne with up to 15,000 spectators each year, so we became ‘The Cathedral of Counterstrike’.
“Though we host 200 events a year (outside of coronavirus times), this is a major event for us and from the content point of view it is pretty unique in our event schedule each year.
“A lot of fans from all around the country travel to Cologne so also the city gets tourism in a target group they normally hardly reach.”
Dundee City Council has agreed a deal with Northern Lights Arena Europe Limited (NLAE) to explore design concepts for a multi-million pound esports venue, which would be located next to Slessor Gardens.
Thrilled Dundee esports enthusiasts explained the fanbase for gaming is comparable to that of football, with people travelling to buy merchandise and watch their favourite teams play.
Gamer Maximilian Ring said: “An esports arena will open up possibilities to bring people from outside Dundee into the city and boost tourism.
“A lot of people like to watch esports for entertainment, it is more like supporting a football team and going along to matches with your mates.
“These happen in arenas all over the world and they are always quite difficult to get to so if there was one in Scotland people would definitely travel to it.”
Dota 2 esports player Lewis Falconer said: “Dundee should get something like this because it is the gaming capital of Europe and these events attract hundreds of thousands of people in tourism.
“In China they used Olympic stadiums to host these events, that is the scale of esports.
“It is just like football where you support different teams, I have different esports team jerseys in my wardrobe.
“My main concern is it is only 4,000 seats, I would like to see it even bigger.”
Gamer James Bouin said: “This will be a lot greater than another Caird Hall.
“This will solidify the influence of Dundee’s gaming industry all around the world.
“It will not just affect the 4,000 attending the games, because these shows are mostly broadcasted and streamed in the same way football is viewed worldwide on TV.
“Competitions have already taken over the viewership of the Superbowl and the Olympics.
“I think this project will need to be completed as soon as 2025 to take advantage of the recent peak in viewership for videogames due to the pandemic.
“I think it’s time for Dundee to support its most blooming industry worldwide.”