Activision Blizzard recruits ESPN and MLG vets to lead new eSports initiativeBy Shawn Knight
Activision Blizzard is betting big on competitive gaming, announcing on Thursday the formation of a new eSports division that'll be run by two men with plenty of experience in the sports and gaming industries.
Former ESPN and NFL Network CEO Steve Bornstein has been recruited to serve as the unit's chairman while Mike Sepso, co-founder and former CEO of Major League Gaming, will lead as senior vice president.
The duo will be tasked with creating new ways to deliver what the company describes as a best-in-class fan experience across games, platforms and geographies.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said celebrating its players and their unique skills, dedication and commitment is the essence of their eSports initiatives. He added that there are no better leaders for the push than Bornstein and Sepso, highlighting the former's experience in creating a sports network powerhouse and the latter's entrepreneurial vision that helped make eSports a household term.
Blizzard's interest in eSports was hinted at over the summer when word got out that it had filed for a trademark for "Compete," an online service to organize, monitor and promote eSport tournaments. It is believed that TeSPA's Compete series inspired Blizzard to take action.
Competitive gaming has been around for decades although it didn't really pick up much notoriety until just recently. Ironically enough, ESPN's current president John Skipper said last year that eSports aren't thought of as a real sport.
Image courtesy David Goldman, AP Photo