Activision Blizzard Confirms MLG Acquisition, Wants To “Create the ESPN of eSports”

January 5, 2016Written by Jason Dunning

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Confirming what was previously reported, Activision Blizzard announced that they’ve acquired the business of Major League Gaming. Terms weren’t disclosed, but the deal is reportedly worth $46 million.

Calling MLG “a leader in creating and streaming premium live gaming events, organizing professional competitions and running competitive gaming leagues,” Activision Blizzard says the acquisition expands their reach across the 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, CEO of Activision Blizzard, talked about their plans to create the ESPN of eSports:

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.

Sepso later added, “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.”

It doesn’t appear much will change immediately as a result of the acquisition, with MLG continuing to operate the MLG.tv, MLG Pro Circuit and GameBattles platforms, while also continuing to work with its partners and other publishers in the industry.

Activision Blizzard also highlighted that eSports is projected to have over 300 million viewers by 2017.

This acquisition follows other recent moves by Activision Blizzard, including the purchase of King for $5.9 billion and the announcement of Call of Duty movies.