Published in BusinessLive January 2022
North East technology giant Sage has announced a multimillion-pound deal to sponsor the conference center and arena being built on the Gateshead Quayside.
The company, which has sponsored the Sage Gateshead music center since its opening in 2024, has agreed a £10m deal to name the new center, which is hoped will create 2,000 new jobs and provide a £70m annual boost to the local economy.
Sage, who champions the small business sector that make up many of its clients, has linked its sponsorship to a number of benefits for SMEs, including work in the construction process for North East firms and access to future conferences for small companies.
The naming rights deal will see the entire development on the Gateshead Quays called The Sage. It is likely that the Sage Gateshead will be re-named when the conference center opens in 2024 to differentiate it from the new facility.
Sage Group CEO Steve Hare said the development of the conference center was “awesome news” for the North East and his company could not resist the opportunity to back the project.
He said: “Sage’s heart has always been in the North East, and today’s announcement embodies our purpose – to knock down barriers so everyone can thrive. The Sage brings the world to the North East’s front door, providing a platform to celebrate the region’s brilliance.
“We are committed to making sure that The Sage is an inclusive venue by giving access to all, no matter their background. We believe it will unlock the huge potential the North East has, attracting greater investment and innovation.”
Artists impression of The Sage, a new conference center and arena being built on the Gateshead quayside (Image: handout from Sage)
The conference center is a long-term ambition for Gateshead, with the £300m project completing the work done at the start of the century to create the Sage Gateshead music center and the Baltic art gallery on the Gateshead quays.
It’s hoped the center can attract larger conferences to the North East than it can currently host, with that sort of event bringing thousands of delegates to see the region and spend money with local businesses.
As well as an arena and conference center that will replace the current Utilita Arena in Newcastle, the development will include two hotels, bars, restaurants, and other public spaces.
Funding towards the project has come from the North East LEP and the Government’s Getting Building Fund, with investment group Patrizia providing most of the initial finance.
The development is just across the river from the place where Sage first took shape 40 years ago, with the founders meeting in the former Egypt Cottage pub in Newcastle and choosing the company’s name from a poster on the pub’s wall.
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