Nearly a year after joining Activision Blizzard following successful runs as the former CEO of ESPN and NFL Network, Steve Bornstein, now Chairman of Activision Blizzard Media Networks, made waves during the NewFronts with the announcement that the company would be launching new content, broadcast experiences and distribution partnerships for its MLG.tv streaming platform, debuting its Enhanced Viewing Experience at the event. Coming off of a thriving MLG Orlando, Bornstein spoke with Cynopsis eSports & Gaming about the company’s new initiatives, the state of MLG and how sponsors are approaching the industry.
Bornstein on Activision acquiring MLG: We really have one broadly defined goal, to build the premier content destination for eSports.
On advertisers: To be candid, we didn’t think advertisers knew just how large, engaged and passionate the audience is. It’s a cultural phenomenon. That being said, the audience is really tough to reach through traditional advertising, so we’re still educating brands on how to target these viewers and reach them through engaging content through all these distribution channels.
On content: We’re going to keep exploring new ways to celebrate these players and focus more on the human interest in eSports. One of the ways we’re doing that is we’re investing heavily in our own platform with EVE (Enhanced Viewing Experience) on MLG.tv, which we just saw great success with at the MLG Orlando Open. We’ve also deepened our collaboration with Facebook Live, and built a comprehensive program around that because we think it’s a great way for new fans to discover MLG.
On the partnership for the Gears eSports Pro Circuit: I think you can expect what Major League Gaming has become known for; building tremendous grassroots communities around games through marquee live events and the industry’s best broadcast production.
On the popularity of eSports: When ESPN got into the sports entertainment business, you already had the NFL, MLB, and NBA very well established with a set season schedule, franchises, star players. MLG is still creating the avenues for that to happen, but we’re dealing with a much less mature sports business in this case. We thankfully have an incredible team who knows the space better than anyone, we’re very optimistic about our ability to produce the highest quality content and celebrate these players.