Horowitz considers job at Fox Sports Sports Media: ESPN’s Snapchat deal MLS makes headway with int’l deals For Mets milestone, SNY gets graphic ESPN.com, engine of innovation ESPN.com redesign: Cleaner look, more options Tablets will make debut in MLB dugouts 25 years ago, Musburger provided drama Courtside popping for NCAA sponsors D-League returns to ESPN
Upcoming Conferences and Events
SBJ/April 16-22, 2012/Media
CBS Interactive aligns with video gaming operations
Published April 16, 2012, Page 5
San Francisco-based CBS Interactive has struck exclusive partnerships with two
eSports online communities, the Austria-based Own3D, and another San Francisco outlet, TwitchTV. CBS Interactive will serve as a sales and business development entity for both outlets.
CBS Interactive has also partnered with two of the major eSports properties, the established, New York-based Major League Gaming, and the upstart North American Star League, formed last year and based in California. In addition to serving in a similar sales and business development role, CBS Interactive will be the exclusive online broadcaster for MLG’s Pro Circuit tournament events.
While eSports carries little mainstream recognition compared with established stick-and-ball sports properties, the category boasts a rabid, engaged fan base among males ages 18-34 that are highly coveted by corporate advertisers. The audience has shown a tendency to consume large amounts of content online, as average viewing times for on-demand eSports videos routinely exceed 20 minutes, compared with less than three minutes a clip for other genres. Live eSports events regularly post even higher metrics.
“This is a hyper-engaged, hyper-social audience,” said Fouad ElNaggar, CBS Interactive senior vice president of strategy and corporate development. “There’s a huge opportunity for us to win this space. We want to own the category.”
|CBS Interactive will broadcast MLG’s Pro Circuit events online.
For the 10-year-old MLG, the CBS Interactive alignment will provide additional distribution and scale for a property that already generated more than 3.5 million unique video stream viewers in 2011 for its Pro Circuit competitions, 225 percent above the year before, and more than 15 million hours of video viewed.
“We talked with several groups, and CBS was the clear fit for us,” said Sundance DiGiovanni, MLG co-founder and chief executive. “I can’t just hire 30 salespeople and immediately get them up to speed to represent us, and nor would I want to. So there’s an instant boost in manpower with CBS coming on board. But this is much more than just a sales or distribution agreement. This is a true partnership, and we’re both invested in the future success of the league.”