Call of Duty publisher Activision is making a big move into eSports with the opening of a brand new competitive gaming division.
Furthermore, it will be headed by former ESPN CEO Steve Bornstein, who will serve as chairman, and MLG co-founder Mike Sepso, who will be senior VP.
Activision's eSports properties include not only Call of Duty but also its selection of Blizzard titles such as Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and StarCraft.
"Celebrating our players and their unique skill, dedication and commitment is the essence of our esports initiatives," Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. "Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Publishing have been leaders in the development of eSports. With that leadership, our strong franchises, our deep history and experience in eSports, and now two additional industry leaders, we intend to further enhance our efforts and make certain this remains an important growth driver for Activision Blizzard.
"There are no better leaders for this new initiative than Steve and Mike. Steve has unparalleled experience in creating a sports network powerhouse and his groundbreaking leadership at ESPN and the NFL Network shaped how the whole world experiences sports. Mike's entrepreneurial vision helped make ‘esports' a household word and he is uniquely positioned to take the experience to the next level."
Steve Bornstein added: "Last year, Activision Blizzard created entertainment that was viewed and played by over 150 million people for more than 13 billion hours.
I believe eSports will rival the biggest traditional sports leagues in terms of future opportunities, and between advertising, ticket sales, licensing, sponsorships and merchandising, there are tremendous growth areas for this nascent industry. I'm excited to help Activision Blizzard further its leadership position in eSports."