It's the end of Major League Gaming as we know it - or is it?
Major League Gaming has sold its majority assets to Activision Blizzard to the tune of $46 million, due to the company's recent financial woes, effectively granting Activision control over the one-time esports leader. As a result, several changes are being made to the company - including their leadership. Co-founder and CEO Sundance Giovanni is stepping down, to be replaced by former CEO Greg Chisholm.
Once the leader in North American esports, MLG is using the sale to pay off a mountain of debt; some lesser shareholders are being left out in the cold by the deal, gaining little in the way of compensation from a deal in which they had no say.
Though some outlets have reported that MLG will be greatly changed by the buyout, co-founders Giovanni and Mike Sepso assure the public that MLG is still focuses on its original intent to highlight the work of the world's most talented gamers - with the added goal of bringing esports to a wider television audience. According to Sepso:
“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. Activision Blizzard’s 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.”
Activision Blizzard wants to bring MLG to your livingroom.
Activision Blizzard's CEO Bobby Kotick names this part of Activision's plan to create "the ESPN of esports." With some estimates granting esports over three million viewers by 2017, this is a huge opportunity for both Activision Blizzard and MLG to make esports as prolific worldwide as FIFA has made soccer.
So is this really "the end of MLG as we know it," or just the company's ticket out of debt and into bigger and better things? Let us know what you think in the comments.