Activision Blizzard has announced a new division devoted entirely to esports. Steve Bornstein, former CEO of ESPN and the NFL Network, will serve as the division’s Chairman and Mike Sepso, who was most recently a co-founder and president of Major League Gaming (MLG), will serve as its Senior Vice President.
[quote by=”Steve Bornstein”]Last year, Activision Blizzard created entertainment that was viewed and played by over 150 million people for more than 13 billion hours. I believe esports will rival the biggest traditional sports leagues in terms of future opportunities and between advertising, ticket sales, licensing, sponsorships and merchandising, there are tremendous growth areas for this nascent industry. I’m excited to help Activision Blizzard further its leadership position in esports.[/quote]
[quote by=”Mike Sepso”]As a member of the esports community for over 12 years, I couldn’t be more excited for the future of the sport. I am confident that the company’s industry-leading content will capture the many opportunities we have to entertain and celebrate our players. Activision Blizzard is uniquely positioned to give millions of fans around the world what they want and I’m excited to help support this community in a way that honours its history.[/quote]
Activision Blizzard has a rich history in esports:
- Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft was the early pioneer in large-scale mainstream, televised esports, since the 1990s.
- Blizzard Entertainment has many of the world’s biggest and most beloved esports competitions. This year’s BlizzCon event will take place 6th-7th November in Anaheim, Calif. and will feature the global finals for StarCraft II, World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone. Players have been competing for more than $4 million in prizes across Road to BlizzCon tournaments.
- Earlier this year, Blizzard Entertainment launched Heroes of the Dorm, the first collegiate esports event to be televised on ESPN2. More than 6,000 collegiate players, representing 460-plus schools, competed in the tournament with the winning team from UC Berkeley securing the grand prize of fully-paid tuition for each of its members.
- Activision Publishing hosts the annual Call of Duty Championship. Call of Duty is the top console esports franchise in the world.
- On 24th September, 2015, Activision Publishing announced the creation of the Call of Duty World League, which provides a $3 million prize pool to professional and amateur players.
- Since its launch, Destiny has become the most watched console game on Twitch.