Activision has been teasing their new focus on e-sports for some time now, revealing in October that they would be launching a brand new division that is focused on e-sports along with Blizzard, today that plan has expanded as the company has just announced that they have acquired one of the biggest e-sports entertainment providers, MLG in order to “furthers our plans to create the ESPN of e-sports,” Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said in a statement.
This is a huge stepping stone for MLG, who started independently back in 2002 and are now owned by the biggest publisher in the world.
In all that time between, MLG has hosted many tournaments and competitive leagues for pretty much every competitive game you can think off, they also launched their own premium streaming service, mlg.tv and have managed to become the first name you think of when you think eSports.
However, despite this being huge for MLG many fans might be worried about a publisher owning an entertainment company, however according Mike Sepso, who now serves as the division’s vice president and co-founded MLG, the company will remain the same as it has always been.
“We 100 percent plan to keep running MLG as it has been, including building around the existing communities, and continuing work with other publishers to build out their e-sports strategies, it’s going to continue to operate, but just at a bigger and better level.” Said Sepso.
Alongside Sepso, the former ESPN CEO, Steve Bornstein will be leading the new eSports division, and the current MLG CEO, Sundance DiGiovanni (the company’s other founder) will be remaining on the board, and will continue to run the operations of MLG.
“We’ve been dealing with that for the better part of a decade,” DiGiovanni explained. “We’ve worked with EA, Microsoft, Valve, Blizzard, Activision, 2K. We’ve had to work within an environment where we’re basically nurturing various publishers’ IP, and having to give equal energy and attention no matter who the partner was. And none of that is going to change. The good thing is that we have long-standing relationships with the folks that we work with at the other publishers — they know me, they know our team, and they know our approach — and I believe that that’s going to translate into a tremendous opportunity.”