Activision Blizzard, the world’s most successful standalone interactive entertainment company, announced this week that it has acquired Major League Gaming, the well-known eSports tournament organizer and broadcaster that was founded in 2002.
The acquisition should strengthen Activision Blizzard’s presence in the rapidly growing eSports industry by adding established live streaming capabilities and technologies to its Media Networks division.
Not long ago we reported on the company’s newly-formed eSports division, which is led by former ESPN CEO Steve Bornstein and Mike Sepso, co-founder of Major League Gaming. This move could be the next piece of the puzzle in which Activision Blizzard tries to harden its presence in the booming industry of competitive gaming.
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.”
Major League Gaming has delivered events in popular eSports titles such as League of Legends, Dota 2, Call of Duty, and others. According to the announcement, MLG will continue delivering events and broadcasts across a number of eSports titles and not just focus on Activision Blizzard properties.
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.”
Major League Gaming is well-known for its MLG.tv, a premium online broadcast network for professional-level eSports, the MLG Pro Circuit as the longest-running eSports league in North America, and GameBattles, the largest online gaming tournament system across consoles, PC and mobile platforms.
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.”
With all that happened in the eSports environment in 2015, this move solidifies the fact that the industry is only getting bigger and that established companies need to act in order to ensure that their survival and future business success is secured.