Activision buys MLG to ‘create the ESPN of eSports’

Activision has confirmed its acquisition of eSports giant Major League Gaming, and says it wants to create the ‘ESPN of eSports’.

The eSports Observer reported that the firm was being acquired in a $46 million deal last week, although Activision has not revealed any financial details on the purchase.

MLG operates live gaming events, organises professional tourments and runs leagues via its, MLG Pro Circuit and GameBattles platforms.

This acquisition follows the launch of the Activision Blizzard Media Networks division, dedicated to eSports, headed by former ESPN CEO Steve Bornstein and MLG Co-founder Mike Sepso. MLG’s CEO and other co-founder, Sundance DiGiovanni, will now join this new department.

"Our acquisition of Major League Gaming’s business furthers our plans to create the ESPN of eSports,” Activision boss Bobby Kotick said in a statement.

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.”

Sundance DiGiovanni added: "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 continued: "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."

Despite the acquisition, Activision and MLG will continue the MLG.TV, MLG Pro Circuit and GameBattles platforms.

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