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Activision Blizzard Opens Esports Division With Former ESPN and MLG Execs At Helm

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Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publisher Activision Blizzard announced a new eSports division Wednesday to tackle the growing competitive video game scene. The eSports genre has seen a steady, if not explosive, rise in popularity and many of the publisher’s games are right in the thick of it. Leading the effort will be a sports entertainment veteran from the halls of ESPN and NFL Network along with a one of the founders of Major League Gaming (MLG).

Former CEO of ESPN and the NFL Network Steve Bornstein will serve as the division’s Chairman and Mike Sepso, who was most recently a co-founder and president of Major League Gaming (MLG), will serve as its Senior Vice President.

 

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 “Celebrating our players and their unique skill, dedication and commitment is the essence of our eSports initiatives, ” said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard. “Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Publishing have been leaders in the development of eSports. With that leadership, our strong franchises, our deep history and experience in eSports, and now two additional industry leaders, we intend to further enhance our efforts and make certain this remains an important growth driver for Activision Blizzard.”Kotick added, “There are no better leaders for this new initiative than Steve and Mike. Steve has unparalleled experience in creating a sports network powerhouse and his groundbreaking leadership at ESPN and the NFL Network shaped how the whole world experiences sports. Mike’s entrepreneurial vision helped make ‘eSports’ a household word and he is uniquely positioned to take the experience to the next level.”

“Last year, Activision Blizzard created entertainment that was viewed and played by over 150 million people for more than 13 billion hours, ” said Steve Bornstein. “I believe eSports will rival the biggest traditional sports leagues in terms of future opportunities, and between advertising, ticket sales, licensing, sponsorships and merchandising, there are tremendous growth areas for this nascent industry. I’m excited to help Activision Blizzard further its leadership position in eSports.”

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