CBS Interactive (CBSi), the online information and entertainment division of CBS, announced today that it will be jumping into live gaming and eSports through two new partnerships with Major League Gaming (MLG) and TwitchTV. MLG is the largest competitive eSports organization and hosts Pro Circuit gaming tournaments in cities around the U.S. TwitchTV is JustinTV's video game streaming site and bills itself as the world's largest video game broadcasting and chat community. With the new partnerships, CBSi estimates it will stream more than 3 billion minutes of live gaming and eSports content monthly.
“The eSports scene is one of the hottest trends in video, and is rapidly attracting the core 18-34 male demographic in greater numbers than any other medium or category,” said Jim Lanzone, President of CBS Interactive. “With these partnerships, CBSi now represents the biggest audience in live gaming and is able to offer our advertising partners a unique mix of trusted premium content along with the huge engagement and audience that the eSports scene is commanding right now.”
The MLG partnership makes CBSi the exclusive online broadcaster of MLG Pro Circuit competitions and also makes CBSi the advertising representative for MLG. The deal with TwitchTV allows CBSi to sell advertising, promotions and sponsorships for the TwitchTV community. Also, it's a given that CBSi will be marketing these partnerships through its flagship gaming property, GameSpot.com.
“Major League Gaming’s live audience is growing in popularity to rival some of the most popular traditional sporting events with a highly engaged fan base worldwide,” said Sundance DiGiovanni, CEO and Co-Founder of Major League Gaming. “Leveraging the reach of CBS Interactive, we will now be able to create a premiere eSports destination for current and future fans alike, while providing some of the most powerful brands an opportunity to reach this coveted, passionate audience.”
It's an exciting time for eSports. With its popularity increasing and money beginning to pour into virtual sports, it will be interesting to see what companies such as MLG and CBSi make of the burgeoning industry. Still, it will be a long while before the StarCraft II championships are aired on CBS network television in primetime.
What do you think? What will this partnership mean for MLG or eSports as a whole? Let me know in the comments section below.