Activision Blizzard is at it again.
The interactive gaming company ended 2015 by purchasing “substantially all” of the assets for Major League Gaming, according to eSports Observer.
The piece reports: “In a special meeting on Dec. 21, MLG’s Board of Directors approved an Asset Purchase Agreement granting Activision Blizzard a large majority of MLG’s assets in exchange for $46 million.”
“The next day, a letter went out to stockholders informing them of the sale.”
This is only the latest move in Activision Blizzard’s aggressive and impressive eSports (and mobile gaming) strategy, as we’ve noted here, here and here.
Indeed, the New York Times is reporting that the move “could play a major role in the company’s broader ambitions to become a bigger player in the media business.”
The piece continues: “Robert A. Kotick, chief executive of Activision Blizzard, said he saw an opportunity to build a bigger mainstream audience for e-sports through more professionally produced events modeled on traditional athletic competitions and the broadcasts that bring them into homes.”
The NYT quotes Kotick: “I have a simple vision for this. I want to build the ESPN of video games.”
Chelsea Stark provides excellent additional detail in Mashable, noting that “Major League Gaming staked its claim for being the first, then the biggest, company in North America to focus on broadcasting competitive gaming. It acted as a league and a broadcaster; imagine if the NBA or NFL and ESPN were the same entity.”
Stark adds: “For Activision, leaving MLG as-is makes the most sense. The brand is one of the most recognized among competitive gaming fans, and, as it’s shown with its acquisition of mobile game giant King late last year, it may prefer to buy the infrastructure instead of building it from scratch.”
Mike Sepso, SVP of Activision’s esports division and, originally, co-founder of MLG, is quoted in the Mashable piece: “We are buying MLG to continue to build out what the company has been doing: expanding esports and pushing it into a mainstream media network. This helps us get there much more quickly, brings us a unparalleled team of expertise.”
The official press release can be found here.