SBD/August 12, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Major League Gaming Is Booming As Largest "E-Sports" Company In North America

Major League Gaming has "gradually emerged as the NFL of the professional gaming world," as it has "played a central role in turning video games ... into an organized, and highly lucrative, form of sport," according to Alan Feuer of the N.Y. TIMES. As the largest "e-sports" organization in North America, MLG has "experienced a similar trend in growth" to the video game industry as a whole. About 8 million people -- "mostly men and mostly in their 20s -- are registered as users on its Web site." The number of unique viewers visiting the site yearly has "rocketed to 11.7 million from 1.8 million" in the last three years, a jump of more than 500%. MLG co-Founder & President Mike Sepso said that "this year would be its best in terms of total earnings." Sepso: "It’s the first full year that we’ll be profitable." Sepso added that 70% of company revenue "comes from advertising." MLG host and VP/Programming Chris Puckett also has "become a boldface name." Feuer noted the company's "next step is to try to break out of the video-gaming ghetto and attract a wider audience." The league starting this month "will gradually unveil an eclectic, five-hour block of evening Internet broadcasts, adding lifestyle shows to its already popular live-streamed competitions." Puckett is "heading up this effort." The ideas he has "kicked around include a John Madden-like show on trash-talking gamers, and reality-television-style documentaries on professional gaming houses -- residential compounds where top teams live and practice together around the clock." Sepso: "We want to approach things like a cable network and program prime time from at least 7 to 11 every weeknight." MLG in a few weeks "expects to announce a wide-ranging partnership with an undisclosed film and television studio to develop projects and to further integrate celebrity personalities into its broadcasts." Puckett's "main objective is to create professional gaming’s equivalent of ESPN’s SportsCenter, a daily digest of gaming news, competition highlights, and game and product reviews" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/11).
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