Activision confirms purchase of e-sports platform ‘Major League Gaming’

Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard has confirmed that it has acquired Major League Gaming, a live gaming platform that has lofty goals to become the “ESPN of e-sports.”

News surfaced over the weekend that Activision was attempting to buy MLG for $46 million.

It was originally believed that Activision would purchase the company and absorb its business. In a clear statement issued on Tuesday the company says it plans to keep the entire business going, specifically the MLG.tv, MLG Pro Circuit and GameBattles platforms.

“All of MLG’s e-sports businesses will continue to operate,” a spokesperson reveals.

MLG’s entire staff will join the Activision Blizzard family, and the company will continue to setup live events with partners.

If the acquisition price is correct, it’s actually a step down for MLG and co-founders Sundance DiGiovanni and Michael Sepso. The startup has raised at least $69 million in venture funding partners.

Sepso was a shareholder who left MLG for Activision and is now SVP of the company’s media networks e-sports division. DiGiovanni had been running MLG as the CEO.

“Sundance and I founded MLG to highlight the incredible talent of competitive gamers all over the world,” Sepso said in a statement.

“Activision Blizzard’s esports leadership, incredible intellectual property and long history in competitive gaming create a perfect home for MLG’s capabilities. The 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,” he added.

The professional gaming business now has 100 million unique viewers globally and that number is expected to increase to 300 million by 2017.

Activision Blizzard has some tough competition in the form of EA, Valve, and others.

“Our acquisition of Major League Gaming’s business furthers our plans to create the ESPN of e-sports,” Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, said in a statement.

“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.”