Video game publisher and developer Activision Blizzard is on its way to becoming a TV and Internet broadcaster. The American group announced have acquired Major League Gaming, the professional esports league that holds the rights to all competitions and events organized around video games in North America. Transaction amount: $ 46 million, according to the site eSportObserver. A formality for the publisher created in 2008 and which generated more than a billion dollars in revenue in the third quarter of 2015.
The parent company of the Call of Duty, Hearthstone, and Skylander franchises, of which two games are in the Top 5 sales in Europe and the United States, is dreaming of a new media group. Across the Atlantic, Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard has announced its intention to become the “ESPN of eSports”, ie a juggernaut in the e-tournament broadcasting rights market. As a bonus, the income linked to this television content is vast: live-streamed competitions, ticket sales, advertising, sponsorship, licenses, derivative products and broadcasting already on certain TV channels in the United States and in Asia. With 100 million spectators, the audience should triple by 2017, Activistion forecast.
In 2015, Activision had already moved closer to MLG by broadcasting a Call of Duty tournament that brought in $ 1 million in revenue. MLG will continue to operate MLG.tv in the United States.
Still, the Californian company still faces other star games published by its competitors Smite or Dota2. The sums at stake, in particular for the players represent several tens of billions of dollars. Electronics Arts also announced that it has created an eSports division.