MLG is now part of Activision Blizzard Media Networks, the future “ESPN of eSports”.
A press release has confirmed yesterday’s report: Activision Blizzard has acquired Major League Gaming, the most visible North American eSports league.
CEO Bobby Kotick said the acquisition is part of Activision Blizzard’s plan to create “the ESPN of eSports”. The press release is shy on details, but does include some interesting information on what will happen to MLG moving forward. To quote in full:
“MLG will continue to operate MLG.tv, MLG Pro Circuit and GameBattles platforms, and will continue to work with its partners and other publishers across the industry.”
Activision Blizzard said the purchase expands its reach across eSports by “adding proven live streaming capabilities and technologies to the Activision Blizzard Media Networks division”, which is one of a couple of names the publisher is throwing around for the new organisation.
Justifying the acquisition, Activision Blizzard said the 100 million strong eSports audience is larger than “many professional sports leagues”, and that “creating premium content for these audiences will provide significant opportunities in ticket sales, advertising, sponsorships, licensing and merchandising”.
Citing analyst reports, Activision Blizzard predicted the eSports audience will grow to 300 million by 2017, and said that existing MLG engagement rivals or outpaces that of traditional sports.
MLG co-founder and CEO Sundance DiGiovanni is joining Activision as part of the deal, explaining his replacement at MLG itself by former CFO Greg Chrisholm.