In a move to secure a more dedicated service towards their eSports infrastructure, Activision Blizzard’s rumored buyout for stream service MLG has been confirmed. The CEO of MLG, Sundance DiGiovanni has also confirmed that he’ll stay in his position despite the buyout. The move by Activision Blizzard was prompted in order to solidify their ‘new eSports division’, Activision Blizzard Media Networks. Bobby Koticks, the CEO of Activision Blizzard goes on to say that he’s hoping expansions like these will hopefully be the start of creating the ‘ESPN of eSports’.
DiGiovanni has made several more comments regarding this acquisition and has confirmed that despite their ownership by Blizzard, it will not prevent other games from being streamed on the service. This includes the Counter Strike minor and major tournaments that are still planned for later on in the year. It was cited that it was in the interest of eSports global growth that this restriction isn’t in place. The main goal of the Activision Blizzard Media Networks is to be the go-to network for eSports coverage for all games that fall under this category.
The details of the buyout are still kept under wraps, but rumors are speculating that the number is roughly around $45 million USD. It was also claimed that some of the shareholders were not in the loop concerning this acquisition. That said, it was reassured that the decision did have various blessings from various investors.
DiGiovanni wanted to send one last message to all fans who were concerned about the integrity of the site, to which this is what he had to say:
This is the greatest possible outcome for us in the scenario of wanting to build eSports and continue to serve the communities, the players, and the games we work with. I’m going to be front and center just as I always have. I’ll be there taking the hits as they come, and I’ll be there celebrating with the communities when the wins come, as well. Over time it will make a lot of sense to everyone. I don’t think anything I say will make some people calm, but I can guarantee this: I’m more dedicated than ever, as is the entire MLG team. Now we just have more resources to work with. Ask me how everyone feels in a year time, and I think we’ll have a fantastic update to give about what we’ve accomplished.
The vision of a more unified eSports network is something that instill inspiration for me as someone who wants to see eSports get taken a tinge more seriously than in the past. 2016 is shaping up to be an extremely viable year for eSports growth, especially with publishers taking this step to bring this sort of community to life. Publishers are willing to put in the money for eSports now. This is a huge step.