Sporting leagues have evolved through decades of organization, key players and partnerships to establish set a platform for athletes to exhibit their full potential and talents. Major League Gaming is one of the largest organized eSports leagues in North America and is in its Tenth Annual Pro Circuit Season, it has announced its first Winter Championships in Dallas from March 15-17, 2013. Complex had a chance to discuss with the CEO and co-founder Sundance DiGiovanni, the origins and the structure of how MLG continues to expand competitive gaming today.
What drove you to create Major League Gaming (MLG)?
I have always been a videogame fan, and competitive by nature. When I was in high school, I ran an arcade in a local resort town and my passion for video games continued into college. After watching the success of the XGames in the early 2000s, the technology boom and the internet changing the way people interact, my friend and co-founder Mike Sepso and I decided to merge our business skills with our competitive drive, and love of traditional sports with the entertainment world. MLG was born. We started small and have grown exponentially year after year. This year marks our Tenth Annual Pro Circuit.
"We experienced 334% growth in live online viewers reaching more than 11.7 million unique viewers over our four Pro Circuit competitions. It definitely exceeded our metrics and we expect the growth to continue this year"
What factors are considered for a game to eligble for MLG?
There are many things to consider when determining games for both the MLG Pro Circuit and Gamebattles, our online competition site. It’s most important for the game to have strong multiplayer. Many games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 are now being built with eSports and MLG in mind. It’s also important that the games or franchises have a passionate community of dedicated fans and a publisher/developer that understands the importance and value of being involved with MLG.
Throughout the years, MLG has used a multitude of genres for many gamers to compete in. Do you see racing or puzzle games being added to your league anytime soon?
We are always evaluating new games. We are not currently planning to integrate racing or puzzle games into our offerings, but you never know.
Can you break down the partnership between MLG and CBS Interactive?
In 2012, MLG became part of the CBS Interactive/GameSpot family and CBS Interactive is one of our digital sales and broadcast partners. CBSi currently broadcasts our Pro Circuit competitions via gamespot.com and we work together on advertising sales.
In 2012 MLG set a bench mark in viewership for each of its events. What was the total views between all 4 events and did it miss, make or break the quota that MLG had set?
2012 was a huge year for MLG and eSports overall. We experienced 334% growth in live online viewers reaching more than 11.7 million unique viewers over our four Pro Circuit competitions. It definitely exceeded our metrics and we expect the growth to continue this year.
MLG has created a lot of job opportunities via contracting for broadcasters, administrators and more. These jobs have been given out not only to the general public but for gamers as well. Was that a something planned?
We have always put our community and fans first. That includes job opportunities for the gamers that have supported us when they have a skill set that matches our current business landscape.
What was one of the most difficult obstacles that you faced earlier on with the company but was able to get pass?
When we first created MLG we had to educate and convince potential partners and game developers/publishers that our business model was worthwhile. Many were skeptical and reluctant to support us. With continued growth and success, we are now at a point where business leads are jumping to work with us and behind our endeavors.
For more updates and play fans can watch competitive gameplay daily at www.majorleaguegaming.com.
Check out MLG ‘s complete schedule right here.