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Major League Gaming

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Major League Gaming
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2016 MLG Pro Circuit
MajorLeagueGamingLogo.png
Sport eSports
Founded 2002; 14 years ago (2002)
Owner(s) Media Networks
(Activision Blizzard)
CEO Greg Chisholm
Commissioner John Nelson
Countries United States[1]
Canada[2]
Most recent
champion(s)
MLG New Orleans 2015[3]
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare:
OpTic Gaming
Dota 2:
Team Secret
Smite:
Team eLevate
Super Smash Bros. Melee:
Liquid|Hungrybox
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U:
Liquid|Nairo
Most titles Team:
Final Boss: 4 (2004-05, 07, 10)[4]
Individual:
Tom Ryan: 35 (2005-12)[5]
Official website MLG Website

Major League Gaming Inc. (MLG) is a professional eSports organization. MLG is headquartered in New York City, New York and was founded in 2002 by Sundance DiGiovanni and Mike Sepso. MLG has held official video game tournaments throughout the United States and Canada. The Boost Mobile MLG Pro Circuit was a television broadcast of Halo 2 MLG tournaments in 2006 and 2007,[6][7] ESPN.com,[8] and other broadband sites.[9] The company has also been involved in television production,[6] and game development.[10] MLG's aim is to elevate computer and console game tournaments to viable competitive and spectator events.[7]

In January 2016, video game publisher Activision Blizzard announced its acquisition of Major League Gaming. The company, whose own eSports division is led by MLG co-founder Mike Sepso, stated that it intended to leverage the purchase as part of its plans to build an eSports-focused television network.

Pro Circuit

The MLG Pro Circuit roster currently includes Starcraft II and League of Legends for the PC. Mortal Kombat, Soul Calibur V, and King of Fighters XIII for the PlayStation 3, and Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo Gamecube are the only console games.[11] Starcraft II is currently commentated by DJ Wheat, Day 9, Rob Simpson, Tasteless, Artosis, JP, dApollo, and TotalBiscuit, with other personalities coming on time to time.[12] Fighting games are commentated by Juicebox Abel, Tom Brady, and Bibulus.[13] No League of Legends casters have been announced yet.

Major League Gaming also hosts a series of online qualifier ladders for the online-only pro circuit titles leading to the national championship. In the past, MLG hosted Super Smash Bros. Melee tournaments during the 2004 through 2006 MLG Circuit and other games such as Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Tekken 5, Gears of War, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas, Shadowrun, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2, Call of Duty 4, and Gears of War 2.

Each team/player must purchase a team pass to compete. These passes normally go on sale several weeks in advance of the next Pro Circuit event. Passes are limited, so participants are encouraged to purchase a pass as soon as they go on sale.[14]

Call of Duty Pro League

MLG Call of Duty Pro League
Sport Call of Duty
Inaugural season 2014 season 1
Ceased 2015
Replaced by MLG Pro Circuit Call of Duty events
No. of teams 16
Venue(s) Online (regular season)
MLG Columbus Arena (playoffs)
Continent North America
Last
champion(s)
FaZe Clan (Clayster, Enable, ZooMaa, Attach)
Most titles OpTic Gaming (3)
Qualification Online qualifiers
Related
competitions
Call of Duty World League

The MLG Pro League was a Call of Duty league that ran in 2014 and 2015 for Ghosts and Advanced Warfare respectively.[15] There were three seasons per year, and 16 teams competing per season. The regular season was played online in a round-robin tournament format over the course of two months. At the end of each season, the bottom four teams were sent to a relegation tournament and the top eight teams were invited to an offline playoff tournament.

There was also a Dota 2 Pro League sponsored by joinDota.

List of Call of Duty winners

Season Dates Winner Runner up # of teams
Ghosts Season 1 2014-02-17—2014-03-26 compLexity Gaming Strictly Business 10
Ghosts Season 2* Evil Geniuses
Ghosts Season 3 EnVyUs
Advanced Warfare Season 1 OpTic Gaming
Advanced Warfare Season 2 OpTic Gaming
Advanced Warfare Season 3 FaZe Clan

*Held as MLG Anaheim 2014

History

Former logo, used until 2013.

Major League Gaming was founded in 2002[16] by Sundance DiGiovanni[17] and Mike Sepso.[6][18] In 2006, MLG became the first televised video game console gaming league in the United States, with their Halo 2 Pro Series being broadcast by USA Network on Boost Mobile MLG Pro Circuit.[19] It moved into the 3 Park Avenue sometime after its founding.

In February 2009, it was announced that MLG got $10 Million in financing from Ritchie Capital Management.[20] On February 6, 2009, MLG Commissioner John Nelson addressed the MLG community about changing the format for the 2009 pro circuit. Semi-pro teams now have the opportunity to gain pro status. The rolling rank points system and the championship bracket were also modified.[21] On August 18, 2009, Major League Gaming acquired Agora Games; CEO Matthew Bromberg explained that "we already operate the largest online competitive gaming property in the world. Agora is the leading developer of multi-player communities in the world. Coming together with Agora allows us to double-down on our biggest strength."[10]

In March 2010, it was announced that fighting games would return to the pro circuit, with Tekken 6 exclusively on the PlayStation 3, and the return of the Smash Bros. competition with Super Smash Bros. Brawl. These two games appeared in the season opener in Orlando, along with the league's flagship, Halo 3, which entered its third season with the league.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 made its debut on the Online Pro Circuit on MLG's GameBattles website for PlayStation 3. Originally, the game was on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Due to excessive hacking on the Xbox 360 console via JTAG hacks, it was stripped of its "Pro Circuit" branding. Prize payouts remain the same on both consoles. PlayStation 3 players are eligible to accumulate Pro Points. Those who have enough Pro Points at the end of the 3rd season of the Online Pro Circuit are eligible to compete live at the MLG Nationals held in Dallas. Those competing on the Xbox 360 do not earn pro points and will have championships held online.[22] On July 30, 2010, it was announced that StarCraft II was to be added to the Pro Circuit. It made its official debut at MLG Raleigh.[23]

The 2011 Circuit featured four titles: Halo: Reach, Starcraft 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops and the mid-season addition of League of Legends.[24] Also returning, something that the MLG Pro Circuit hasn't seen since the 2005, is Pool Play. The top 16 teams were seeded in 4 pools of 5 teams, where the 5th team would play an undefeated amateur team. The team with the best record throughout pool play advanced to the winner's bracket semi-finals, securing themselves a Top 6 finish.

The 2012 MLG competitions saw many title changes in the Pro Circuit. Starcraft II was brought on as the league's main title. Fighting games for the PS3 and League of Legends were announced as additional titles. Halo: Reach is no longer on the Pro Circuit, nor is Call of Duty: Black Ops. Call of Duty was dropped from the circuit due to the lack of funding MLG received from PlayStation to put the title on the circuit. The 2012 tournament format has also drastically changed, with the introduction of seasonal events. The new format features 4 quarterly seasons; within each season are 2 Arenas and a Championship. The Championship features all Pro Circuit titles, and has a free SD broadcast option. The Arenas are Pay-per-view (PPV) events and for now only feature Starcraft II, and are broadcast in high definition (HD) from MLG's Studio in New York. [25]

Also in 2012 came many new partnerships for MLG. So far, MLG has partnered with CBS Interactive (CBSi) to increase its broadcast capabilities and to integrate with CBSi's website, GameSpot.com. This new partnership hopes to increase exposure of MLG to a larger more casual audience.[26]

During 2012, MLG has also partnered with KeSPA (Korean eSports Association) in a multi-year agreement. This agreement allows MLG exclusive access to KeSPA's Starcraft: Brood War players. The partnership will see KeSPA Brood War pros come to the US to compete in MLG events throughout the year. The participants will not be allowed to compete at any other foreign tournaments without MLG's approval. The deal took effect in June, when KeSPA Brood War pros participated in an exhibition event at MLG Anaheim.[27]

Beginning on November 2, 2012, with the commencement of the MLG Fall Championship in Dallas, Texas, Halo was reintroduced to the pro circuit. Halo 4, which was publicly released on November 6, was one of the five games scheduled for competitive play at MLG Dallas.[28]

In January 2013, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 was introduced into the Pro Circuit.[29]

On August 14, 2013, Call of Duty: Ghosts was announced to be MLG's featured first-person shooter game for the MLG Columbus and 2014 season events. Through June 8–10, 2014 MLG hosted a tournament at the X Games for Call of Duty: Ghosts with the eventual winners being OpTic Gaming including fan favorites Matt "Nadeshot" Haag and Seth "Scump" Abner.

In April 2014, MLG announced that it partnering with Lai Fung Holdings Limited (Lai Fung) and eSun Holdings Limited in building the MLG Arena on Hengqin Island in China, near Macau.[30] The arena, which is scheduled to be completed in 2017, is part of the "Creative Culture City" development planned on Hengqin.

In October 2014, MLG opened the 14,000 square feet (1,300 m2) MLG.tv Arena in Columbus, Ohio .[31] It is located near the Easton Town Center.[32] The first event held at the arena was the Season 3 Call of Duty playoffs.[31]

On November 19, 2013, MLG announced it would be organizing the MLG Major Championship: Columbus Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major on March 29 – April 3, 2016 in Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, US.[33]

Acquisition by Activision Blizzard

On December 31, 2015, it was reported that "substantially all" of MLG's assets had been acquired by Activision Blizzard for $46 million, and that CEO Sundance DiGiovanni would be replaced by MLG's former CFO Greg Chisholm. Activision Blizzard operates its own in-house e-sports division, Activision Blizzard Media Networks, led by veteran sports television executive Steve Bornstein, MLG co-founder Mike Sepso, and its acquisition of assets from the defunct IGN Pro League. Activision Blizzard owns the Call of Duty and Starcraft franchises—which have been popular as e-sports. Reports indicated that MLG was to be shuttered, and that the majority of the purchase price would go towards paying off the company's debt.[34][35]

Activision Blizzard confirmed the purchase on January 4, 2016. Activision CEO Robert Kotick explained that the main target of the acquisition was MLG's streaming operation MLG.tv. Kotick explained to The New York Times that their eventual goal was to "build the ESPN of video games"—a television cable channel that would be devoted to e-sports coverage and analysis with "premium" in-house productions that could attract more major advertisers, either produced by Activision's staff or by outside producers. Despite the acquisition, MLG will continue to host events relating to games that are not published by Activision Blizzard's subsidiaries, like the MLG Major Championship: Columbus Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major that occurred in March 2016.[36]

List of National Championships

MLG.tv

MLG.tv is Major League Gaming's streaming media service. Several professional Call of Duty players including Matt "Nadeshot" Haag have signed exclusivity contracts with the streaming service.[37] At the end of the first quarter of 2015, MLG announced that mlg.tv saw in increase in viewership of 253% [38]

In popular culture

"Montage parodies" are a type of montage video that parodies Call of Duty sniping videos.[39] Such videos commonly employ sound effects such as an air horn, gun sound effects for the Call of Duty games, the Nate Dogg line "smoke weed everyday" from Dr. Dre's single "The Next Episode", and sounds from the Wombo Combo Super Smash Bros. Melee video. In particular the MLG brand is used in exaggerated effect for humor. "MLG no-scope" in particular is a satirical term used in association with such videos.[40] Doritos and Mountain Dew as brands have been associated Major League Gaming group. They are often parodied in such videos.

References

  1. ^ "Major League Gaming (MLG)". 
  2. ^ "Major League Gaming Canada". 
  3. ^ "MLG 2015 Results". mlgpro.com. Retrieved December 31, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Pro Circuit Archive". 
  5. ^ Tom Ryan (electronic sports player)
  6. ^ a b c Devin Leonard, Devin Leonard (August 21, 2008). "Calling master chief A News Corp.-backed professional video-game league is getting a run for its money from two former ad guys.". CNNMoney.com. Retrieved September 25, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b Terdiman, Daniel (April 17, 2006). "Major League Gaming goes big league". CNET.com. Retrieved September 25, 2009. 
  8. ^ "ESPN:The Life:Video Games:MLG". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on February 8, 2009. Retrieved September 25, 2009. 
  9. ^ "ESPN 360 acquired". ESPN. June 4, 2009. Archived from the original on July 21, 2015. Retrieved September 30, 2009. 
  10. ^ a b "Agora Games acquired". The Business Review (Albany). August 18, 2009. Retrieved September 25, 2009. 
  11. ^ Spring Season Games
  12. ^ Starcraft II MLG Casters
  13. ^ MLG Fighting Casters
  14. ^ MLG Competitor Passes
  15. ^ http://charlieintel.com/2014/10/07/mlg-pro-league-season-1-for-advanced-warfare-begins-in-december/
  16. ^ "Major League Gaming Company Profile". 
  17. ^ Mudhar, Raju (June 20, 2007). "Major League Gaming shoots into Canada". The Toronto Star. Retrieved September 25, 2009. 
  18. ^ "Executive Team | Major League Gaming". Mlgpro.com. March 16, 2009. Retrieved September 29, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Major League Gaming -Boost Mobile Major League Gaming Pro Circuit". Usanetwork.com. August 10, 2009. Archived from the original on June 23, 2012. Retrieved May 25, 2012. 
  20. ^ Magee, Kyle (May 8, 2009). "MLG Secures $10 Million in Series A Financing from Ritchie Capital to Build World's First Professional Video Game League". Major League Gaming. Retrieved April 8, 2015. 
  21. ^ "MLG Commissioner John Nelson addresses community concerns" (Press release). Major League Gaming. February 6, 2009. Retrieved February 28, 2009. 
  22. ^ "MLG 4v4 Details" (Press release). Major League Gaming. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  23. ^ "MLG Starcraft II Announced". Mlgpro.com. Retrieved August 14, 2010. 
  24. ^ Lish (August 12, 2011). "League of Legends Joins the MLG Pro Circuit". Major League Gaming. Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  25. ^ MLG Format Changes
  26. ^ MLG CBSi Deal
  27. ^ MLG KeSPA Deal
  28. ^ Camber Weiss (October 31, 2012). "Guide to the MLG Fall Championship". press release. Major League Gaming. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  29. ^ "MLG Pick Up Black Ops 2 for Pro Circuit Winter Championship in Dallas". Multiplayer. Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  30. ^ Goldberg, Kyle (April 24, 2014). "Major League Gaming to Build First-Ever MLG Stadium in China". Major League Gaming. Retrieved April 20, 2015. 
  31. ^ a b http://www.majorleaguegaming.com/news/major-league-gaming-announces-mlg-tv-columbus-arena
  32. ^ Feran, Tim (September 24, 2014). "Columbus chosen for first Major League Gaming arena outside of company's studios". Retrieved May 6, 2015. 
  33. ^ Lewis, Richard (November 2015). "Report: MLG to Host 'Counter-Strike: Global Offensive' Major in March 2016". Breitbart. 
  34. ^ "Activision Blizzard beefs up e-sports muscle". CNET. Retrieved January 4, 2016. 
  35. ^ "Report: Major League Gaming shuttered after $46 million Activision buyout". Ars Technica. Retrieved January 4, 2016. 
  36. ^ "Activision Buys Major League Gaming to Broaden Role in E-Sports". The New York Times. Retrieved January 5, 2016. 
  37. ^ http://kotaku.com/competitive-call-of-duty-star-says-leaving-twitch-is-hi-1737337557
  38. ^ http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/mlg-tv-enjoys-253-viewer-jump/0147849
  39. ^ SERRELS, MARK (January 28, 2015). "Probably The Best Halo 5 Montage I've Seen So Far". 
  40. ^ MARTINEZ, LORI (January 2, 2016). "ACTIVISON BLIZZARD HAS PURCHASED MLG FOR $46 MILLION". Regal Tribune. 

External links