Things could be shaking up in the world of eSports if recent rumors prove to be true. According to a report on New Year's Day, Activision Blizzard may be finalizing the purchase of Major League Gaming.
According to eSports Observer, Activision Blizzard is looking to purchase Major League Gaming (MLG) for $46 million. Since neither MLG nor Activision Blizzard have released official word on the matter, we're chalking this one up as a rumor for the time being. It's certainly a convincing rumor, though, as eSports Observer supplies bits and pieces of the agreement in the original report, as well as one quote from an individual who wished to remain anonymous. But, again, nothing has been stated by either of the parties potentially involved.
This also seems like a pretty plausible rumor due to recent history. MLG has had some debt issues in the past and, earlier this year, Activision Blizzard partnered with another eSports organization, ESL, for the Call of Duty World League. Until then, MLG handled big tournaments for the Call of Duty games, as well as StarCraft and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. If the sale is legitimate, that would leave the question of what is to happen to remaining events scheduled by the MLG, including the upcoming Counter-Strike tournament.
Digging into the black and white a bit further, we find that the $46 million supposedly coming from Activision Blizzard would primarily be utilized to pay off MLG's outstanding debt, which means that not all current shareholders would see gains from the transaction.
The deal also includes the removal of current MLG CEO Sundance Digiovanni, who would be replaced by the company's former chief financial officer, Greg Shisholm.
Again, this all seems logical, if it is true. Activision Blizzard has a lot of eSports-ready games in its stable and even more, like Overwatch, set to hit the market this year. If they've got the resources to take on the organization and hosting of eSports events under their own umbrella, it makes sense they'd move to gather up MLG while the getting was good.
The world of eSports is certainly an interesting one right now. We're getting the ocassional eSports broadcasts on live television now, and sites like Twitch have made competitive gaming as popular as it has ever been. I'd say we're seeing a potential watershed moment here. If eSports are handled properly moving forward, we could see the industry grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years.
As always, we'd love to hear what our readers think on the matter. Assuming these rumors hold firm, was the potential purchase of MLG by Activision Blizzard a solid move in your mind? Would you be more or less interested in eSports if Activision Blizzard is running the show? Let us know in the comments below.
It has been confirmed that Activision Blizzard has, indeed, purchased Major League Gaming. Activision Blizzard announced the acquisition on January 4 noting that the "acquisition expands Activision Blizzard's reach in the rapidly-growing esports ecosystem by adding proven live streaming capabilities and technologies to the Activision Blizzard Media Networks division." Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard, said in a press release,
Our acquisition of Major League Gaming's business furthers our plans to create the ESPN of esports. 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. Together, we will create new ways to celebrate players and their unique skills, dedication and commitment to gaming. We are excited to add Sundance and the entire MLG esports team to our competitive gaming initiatives.
MLG will continue to run programs like MLG.tv, MLG Pro Circuit and GameBattles platforms, but just under the supervision of Activision Blizzard now.