Stratford set to become the new home of Esports
London tech and innovation campus Here East has announced plans to transform part of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford into a world-class esports arena, bringing an industry worth £180bn globally to East London.
The Park is already home to esports competitions at its Copper Box stadium at Staffordshire University London, which offered the first esports undergraduate course. It’s also home to esports and gaming businesses such as BT Sports, Sports Interactive and Bidstack and the newly published report details plans for a vast expansion. As the popularity of esports (competitive, major-league video gaming) continues to rise across the globe, Here East has positioned itself as the central driving force in developing the sector in London.
Gavin Poole, CEO of Here East said: ‘This report outlines our vision to transform the Park into a world-class esports cluster that sends a clear message to the global esports community - London has the talent, venues and expertise to become a global capital for esports’.
The site was the original home of TV studios for the London Olympic Games making it uniquely equipped to host a vast number of technology and arts focused companies. Through interviews with numerous stakeholders, esports leaders and academics, the site was recognised as having the unique technological characteristics, state of the art sporting venues and the proximity to international esports teams and academic institutions, to provide the perfect home to house an esports cluster; a burgeoning gaming and tournament sphere.
Once home to high jumpers and runners, the new esports arena will still offer athleticism, just not as we know it, as Poole describes:
‘We’re talking to different teams and different organisations at the moment. Our University partners are keen to engage as well, particularly Loughborough with their technology and sports science teams. They deliver elite-athlete-training to Team GB and, of course, the esports teams are keen to develop their own athlete programmes.’
A dedicated team, led by Here East, Arena Consultancy and LLDC will lead the development of the esports arena which will promote and drive the innovation surrounding the industry’s growth. Considering esports generated over £60m in revenue across the UK in 2019, the creation of the esports arena at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will quicken the pace of the entire UK sector while driving job creation and economic expansion in the local area.
Through new esports partnerships and collaborations with local initiatives, the team’s aim is to foster new talent and attract the esports industry leaders with its mix of world-class tech, app developers, creative culture and access to higher education. Big names are already on board to broadcast tournaments within the new esports arena, as Gavin Poole explains,
‘The main thing for us is to make sure we work closely with global businesses like Sega, BT Sport, Ford and others to make sure that they look at the opportunities surrounding them by being here, both in terms of business opportunities through our network on-site, but also from the talent opportunity being in East London and what that talent consists of in the broader local market.’
For more information on the development and to learn about plans for the new esports arena and its impact on the local community, visit the Here East website.