Activsion Blizzard has officially purchased Major League Gaming for $46 million (about RM200 million). At the moment, it looks like the entire MLG is being absorbed into Activision, and will be used to further its plans to expands its eSports division.
MLG is a rather big deal for the eSports scene, considering that the corporation was the first to broadcast a competitive gaming match. It also owns an eSports arena from which it holds tournaments, and a livestreaming business in the form of MLG.tv. Reports indicate that all of these assets now belong to Activision Blizzard.
Co-founder of MLG, Mike Sepso says that he sees the company producing ESPN-level premium content in the future. Sepso, who had originally left MLG to work for Activision Blizzard, believes that there is a market for shows with high production values to bring eSports to a more mainstream audience. We’re not entire sure what this means, but it could potentially involve a lot of statistics and analysis; considering America’s obsession with stats and numbers.
Not everyone is happy with the sale of the company, as it was done without a shareholders meeting, and with a “less than unanimous written consent”; although the action is perfectly legal under Delaware corporate law.
Making matters worse is the fact that a large portion of the income from the sale will be first used to pay off debts, which leaves very little leftover for shareholders. MLG had applied for multiple rounds of debt financing in 2015, and was on rocky ground when it came to its cashflow. Unfortunately, this has left shareholders out in the cold when it comes to receiving any sort of dividend.
Activision Blizzard on the other hand, will be more than glad to have substantial assets to put towards eSports. Blizzard already has the highly successful Hearthstone card game leading its eSports aspirations, although it has been promoting Heroes of the Storm heavily. The upcoming team based first person shooter Overwatch also looks to be more fuel for the eSports chase.
On the other hand, Activision has the wildly popular Call of Duty series. It isn’t quite as popular as Counter Strike: Global Offensive in terms of numbers, but it does draw a substantial audience.
The future of MLGs current efforts with games not owned by Activision Blizzard is unknown at the moment. It likely than these titles will be slowly dropped, considering that MLG itself technically no longer exists.