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Volume 26 No. 7
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Activision Blizzard's Major League Gaming To Run Overwatch League

Blizzard Entertainment will put operation of the much-anticipated Overwatch League under the control of Major League Gaming, the tournament organizer and streaming platform acquired by its parent Activision Blizzard in '15. The reorganization gives new power to former Fox Sports exec Pete Vlastelica, who was hired by Activision last year to become MLG CEO. In addition to managing operation, sales and distribution for the planned OWL and Overwatch World Cup, MLG will also oversee Activision’s Call of Duty World League, as well as continue to operate the MLG-branded streaming network.

The announcement comes with just a few months before Blizzard has said it will launch the Overwatch League, despite having not yet named any buyers for franchise spots. Sources familiar with Blizzard’s road show say the publisher is in advanced talks with several pro sports organizations, but has not yet secured signed contracts. Blizzard confirmed it is in talks but did not comment on any particular buyers. Blizzard’s existing esports team will continue to directly manage and operate the global esports programs for Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, StarCraft and World of Warcraft. However, the new MLG division will begin to contribute its media production, sales and distribution efforts to those titles as well.

Three senior execs that predate Activision’s purchase of MLG will continue in their current roles: Mike Sepso as Senior VP, Sundance DiGiovanni as VP/Brand & Content and Adam Apicella as Senior Dir of League Operations. Blizzard’s Nate Nanzer continues to lead the Overwatch League’s efforts to build the roster of teams. MLG’s media responsibilities will still be overseen by Steve Bornstein.