CBS Interactive Partners with MLG and Twitch.TV to Venture into the eSports World
A major victory for the eSports world was announced earlier today as CBS Interactive has announced a partnership with both Twitch.tv and MLG to make a foray into exposing eSports to a wider audience. This deal guarantees CBS Interactive exclusive broadcast rights to any MLG events in the future. In addition, the deal with Twitch.tv allows CBSi to have exclusive advertising, promotions and sponsorships on Twitch's channels.
From the press release:
- Partnership with TwitchTV: CBS Interactive has signed an exclusive partnership with TwitchTV, the world’s leading video game broadcasting network. Each month, TwitchTV attracts 16 million people from all over the world who tune in to watch other players, commentators, and live gaming competitions and events. CBSi Games, which now has a total reach of 25 million users watching almost 50 million hours of live gaming video per month, will exclusively sell advertising, promotions and sponsorships for this community.
- Partnership with Major League Gaming (MLG): The world’s most prominent eSports league, Major League Gaming (MLG), has signed a partnership with CBS Interactive to be the exclusive online broadcaster of their Pro Circuit competitions, as well as for advertising representation. MLG is the world's largest competitive video game league with over 15 million hours of live video served to fans during the 2011 Pro Circuit season, nearly 2,500 hours of live gaming competition scheduled in 2012, and thousands of the world’s best players competing at MLG events annually.
What exactly does all of this mean? Basically, MLG has partnered with CBSi to host their tournaments on Gamespot and other CBSi owned websites, in addition to Youtube and their traditional MLG.com broadcast. All of this adds up to a whole lot more exposure, and hopefully less people heckling eSports as "not serious". The CBS/Twitch partnership will ensure that more companies are interested in supporting prospective streamers and, as a result, tournaments.
“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, 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.”
CBSi definitely seems to be on the right track, and it's not hard to see why - eSports have been on an upward trend the past few years, especially with the explosion of streaming technology available cheap, or free via Twitch.tv and their partners. On average, a person will tune into a tournament or other live gaming event for 24 minutes, as compared with the average 3 or 4 minutes for typical on demand content. Across CBSi's sites, their core demographic is 18-34 year olds, a key market in eSports. Compare this with sites like Youtube, who have a much wider demographic, and it's easy to see why MLG would want to make a move like this.
"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, 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."
One thing's for sure - MLG's about to explode even more, and I'm just glad to be there to watch it all!
Dustin Steiner is GameZone's eSports Correspondent! You can follow him on Twitter @SteinerDustin.