Activision Blizzard confirms purchase of Major League Gaming

Rumors were flying for the past week, but today, Activision Blizzard has confirmed its purchase of Major League Gaming, which will further help its efforts in the eSports world.

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The rumor was flying over the past week, but today, Activision Blizzard has made it official. The company has announced that it has formally acquired Major League Gamming and is folding it into its own eSports division. The Activision Blizzard Media Networks division will now be led by former ESPN CEO Steve Bornstein and Mike Sespo, the co-founder for MLG.

"Our acquisition of Major League Gaming's business furthers our plans to create the ESPN of eSports," Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick stated via press release. "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 [DiGiovanni, MLG CEO and co-founder] and the entire MLG esports team to our competitive gaming initiatives."

Sales figures were not disclosed, though reports from Fortune have the sales numbers at $46 million. Activision Blizzard has gradually expanded its reach into the eSports market, offering massive tournaments for Blizzard's roster of properties (Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Heroes of the Storm, etc.) and also the Call of Duty franchise, with Activision recently announcing the field of 30 teams for the inaugural Call of Duty World League Pro Division.

MLG will continue to operate across MLG.tv, MLG Pro Circuit, and GameBattles platforms and will continue its relationships with its partners. MLG has garnered over 100 million unique viewers over its lifespan, a number estimated to triple by 2017.

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Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
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    January 4, 2016 2:19 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Activision Blizzard confirms purchase of Major League Gaming

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      January 4, 2016 2:25 PM

      This is starting to feel like auto-racing when it got to the point where manufacturers were buying exclusive rights to engine cars in series like IndyCar.

      I guess this was pretty much expected since the in house tournament running at Riot for LoL and Valve for DOTA 2 meant Blizzard would have had to build a new competition department to keep up despite have a long tradition of large scale competition in its games.

      Still, it just feels a little weird to have publishers running the shows.

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        January 4, 2016 2:41 PM

        Blizzard already has an eSports department and TeSPA. This is Activision Blizzard and probably doesn't have anything to do with Blizzard's tournaments.

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          January 4, 2016 2:45 PM

          I wonder how many more years it'll be before people finally start to understand the Activision-Blizzard thing.

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            January 4, 2016 2:48 PM

            Well, based on the article:

            "Activision Blizzard has gradually expanded its reach into the eSports market, offering massive tournaments for Blizzard's roster of properties (Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Heroes of the Storm, etc.) and also the Call of Duty franchise, with Activision recently announcing the field of 30 teams for the inaugural Call of Duty World League Pro Division."

            So even if Blizzard has their own thing, it is hard to believe that the Activision-Blizzard would compete against itself. It might, but it seems more likely they would combine intellectual properties under a competitive roof.

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            January 4, 2016 7:38 PM

            This is one area where collaboration might make sense, though. We'll see!

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        January 4, 2016 3:18 PM

        Valve just started doing stuff with DOTA2, the only thin they did was the once a year tournament. Blizzard has been running leagues for years now.

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          January 4, 2016 3:30 PM

          Years, yes, but last year's Heroes of the Dorm was Blizzard's biggest tourney to date. And having talked to people from Activision in the past year, Blizzard (and Activision, to a far greater extent) doesn't want to worry about television production. That's not their strength. They want to focus on the actual game/tournament and let someone else handle the production element. Hence, the MLG acquisition kinda makes sense from that perspective.

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            January 4, 2016 4:22 PM

            It mostly makes sense that one of the MLG execs went to Activision esports then proceeded to buy back his old company.

            MLG is in enough debt to not compensate employees who have shares, but I'm sure anyone C-level is being taken care of a-ok

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      January 4, 2016 4:09 PM

      Everyone looks so bored in that screen shot. Also, why is everyone trying to watch the action on those little screens.

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