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.
RothalackJanuary 7, 2016, 10:21 amMaster O' BugsI want them to start broadcasting through Twitch. By not broadcasting on Twitch, you lose a huge amount of potential viewership. They should just broadcast everywhere and stop trying to push their kinda crappy stream platform.
Jessa RittenhouseJanuary 7, 2016, 4:59 pmColumnistI agree that Twitch would make a lot more sense. How do you feel about their idea to actually form a network based around streaming? Bringing it to television, to be the ESPN of gaming? Do you think that'd work out?
Personally, I think they'd be better off relying on Twitch, but then, maybe I just don't get some of the benefits of television versus streaming online. Seems to me that there are fewer and fewer advantages to TV, all the time.
RothalackJanuary 8, 2016, 9:39 amMaster O' BugsI fear if they made a traditional TV station, it would fail pretty hard. It seems to me that most of us eSports fans have cut cable altogether and no longer partake. G4 back in the day made sense because internet based streaming and video hadn't reached that point yet.
Jessa RittenhouseJanuary 8, 2016, 9:51 amColumnistThat was what I was thinking, honestly. I haven't had cable in years, except for a few months a couple of years ago when my fiance worked for a cable company and we got it for free. Then he decided to be a teacher and that went away - and none of us missed it, because we were always too busy with games and Netflix to care what was on.