Activision Blizzard is betting big on esports, and with the announcement of the acquisition of the Major League Gaming business, they must be expecting big thing from competitive videogames as a sport.
In an effort to compete with EA (we assume) and to become the "ESPN of esports" Activision has snatched up MLG to help bolster the technology and community behind their Activision Blizzard Media Network.
Have a look at the announcement below.
Activision Blizzard, Inc. today announced the acquisition of the business of Major League Gaming (MLG). MLG is a leader in creating and streaming premium live gaming events, organizing professional competitions and running competitive gaming leagues. The acquisition expands Activision Blizzard's reach across the rapidly-growing esports ecosystem by adding proven live streaming capabilities and technologies to the Activision Blizzard Media Networks division, led by former ESPN CEO Steve Bornstein and MLG Co-founder Mike Sepso.
Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard, said, "Our acquisition of Major League Gaming's business furthers our plans to create the ESPN of esports. MLG's ability to create premium content and its proven broadcast technology platform – including its live streaming capabilities – strengthens our strategic position in competitive gaming. MLG has an incredibly strong and seasoned team and a thriving community. Together, we will create new ways to celebrate players and their unique skills, dedication and commitment to gaming. We are excited to add Sundance and the entire MLG esports team to our competitive gaming initiatives."
Sundance DiGiovanni, Chief Executive Officer and MLG Co-founder, said, "Our mission for over 12 years has been to promote and expand the growth of competitive gaming worldwide, and today the industry is at a key inflection point as its popularity soars and rivals that of many traditional professional sports. This acquisition and Activision Blizzard's commitment to competitive gaming will expand the opportunities for gamers to be recognized and celebrated for their competitive excellence."
Mike Sepso, Senior Vice President of Activision Blizzard Media Networks and MLG Co-founder, said, "Sundance and I founded MLG to highlight the incredible talent of competitive gamers all over the world. Activision Blizzard's esports leadership, incredible intellectual property and long history in competitive gaming create a perfect home for MLG's capabilities. The acquisition of MLG's business is an important step towards Activision Blizzard Media Networks' broader mission to bring esports into the mainstream by creating and broadcasting premium esports content, organizing global league play and expanding distribution with key gaming partners."
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. MLG.tv is a premium online broadcast network for professional-level esports and the MLG Pro Circuit is the longest-running esports league in North America. GameBattles is the largest online gaming tournament system across consoles, PC and mobile platforms.
With over 100 million unique viewers, the esports audience is estimated to be bigger than audiences for many professional sports leagues. Creating premium content for these audiences will provide significant opportunities in ticket sales, advertising, sponsorships, licensing and merchandising. By 2017, esports is projected to have over 300 million viewers. For the past 12 years, MLG has helped bring esports into the mainstream with broadcasts of professional gaming competitions that rival traditional sports fan engagement.