Activision Acquired MLG to Create ‘ESPN of eSports’

By | 10 months ago 

In a statement released today, Activision Blizzard laid out some of its plans for Major League Gaming, including its desire to make MLG the ESPN of eSports.

A few days ago, the gaming industry was shocked to learn Activision Blizzard is in the process of acquiring Major League Gaming (MLG), one of the pioneers in online competitive gaming events and streaming. Today, Activision Blizzard made the acquisition official and also revealed a few details about its plans for MLG.

In a new press release, Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, shared his perspective on the acquisition. Kotick referenced Activision’s own efforts to build a strong eSports platform, saying the acquisition will give Activision Blizzard the boost it needs to achieve its goals in the space. According to Kotick:

“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.”

Major League Gaming Sold to Activision Blizzard

According to the statement, MLG will continue as it has in the past, albeit under the umbrella of Activision Blizzard., MLG Pro Circuit, and GameBattles platforms will continue to work with their partners and publishers across the industry. In fact, it’s likely not much will change at first with MLG as the team at Activision Blizzard gets a full understanding of the opportunities available to them with the acquisition.

Even if not much changes with MLG itself, it will be interesting to see if Activision Blizzard incorporates the MLG brand into its games and other businesses. For instance, the Call of Duty publisher may decide to offer specialized MLG-branded assets with both its games and peripherals. Players may have the opportunity to purchase MLG camos in Call of Duty games, or special MLG Skylander characters.

Of course, these are just musings, as Activision Blizzard hasn’t yet made any such announcement. But considering the $46 million price tag for MLG, it won’t be surprising to see Activision make the most of the purchase.

Whatever Activision Blizzard decides to do with MLG, it likely won’t take long for the company to recoup the cost of the acquisition. With over 100 million unique viewers, esports already has a massive audience, bigger than some professional sports leagues. And those numbers are expected to reach over 300 million viewers by 2017. That’s a lot of potential for ticket sales, advertising, sponsorships, licensing, and merchandising – all of which represent a major revenue opportunity for the already behemoth Activision Blizzard.

What do you think about Activision Blizzard’s plans for Major League Gaming? Do you think they are taking it in the right direction? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Business Wire