Activision buys Major League Gaming for $46M
In 2015, various announcements indicated that the major publishers Activision and EA planned to launch esports divisions to capitalize on the growing trend. In 2016, the publishers began to put their money where their vast, profit-hungry mouths were. Nowhere was this more clear than with Activision's acquisition of the venerable esports organization Major League Gaming (MLG) on January 4, 2016.
For years, MLG had been synonymous with esports, a buzzword shouted by prepubescent gamers whenever a particularly shnasty 360-no-scope happened to land. Over the years, MLG had assembled a powerful online platform and a host of broadcast capabilities that Activision anticipated would jump-start efforts to create the "ESPN of esports." This despite the fact that ESPN, by broadcasting Heroes of the Storm in 2015, had already more or less become the ESPN of esports; it would even launch an esports journalism vertical 10 mere days after Activision's MLG acquisition. Still, the $46M January 4th deal was a powerful sign that 2016 would be a year of huge companies getting serious about esports – which it indeed turned out to be.