At a New Fronts event today in New York City, Activision laid out plans to expand its recent purchase of MLG, laying out content, partnerships, and new streaming options for MLG.tv that highlight plans to build a business model off of eSports broadcasting.
Activision's announcement included the debut of a new video stream called "EVE" (Enhanced Viewing Experience) that couples gameplay video with match statistics, leaderboards and "situational insights" of the broadcast game, the addition of full-time network host and former pro player Chris Puckett, and a partnership with Facebook for special live broadcasting.
The Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 MLG Anaheim Open that opens on June 10th will be available on Facebook's live video service, and will introduce MLG.tv's new host and video streaming technology. Facebook seems to hope to use the partnership to grow its live video presence, as the company boasts about using this service to deliver eSports content to its reported 1.6 billion users. In a statement, Dan Reed, Facebook's head of global sports partnerships, says "eSports is an exciting space and continues to be a growing priority for us."
"With over 1.6 billion people on the platform and a growing suite of VOD and live streaming products that partners can use to increase engagement, Facebook is uniquely positioned to help esports fans connect around exciting moments and great esports content."
Activision's expansion of MLG.tv seems positioned to create a large centralized audience that can be easily advertised to, thereby increasing the company's partnership with various advertisers. "eSports is a cultural phenomenon at its tipping point, and we're excited to work with the IAB to bring this message directly to advertisers as part of the 2016 Digital Content NewFronts," says Activision SVP Mike Sespo in a statement. "The size of our digital network, coupled with our insights into this audience's viewing habits, put us in a unique position to educate the advertising industry on how to safely target these viewers and reach them on their platform of choice."
Activion's made clear in the past about wanting to turn its eSports properties into something along the lines the MLB or the NFL, and this expansion to MLG.tv looks to be the foundation of its plan to "build the ESPN of eSports."
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled host Chris Puckett's name. This has been fixed.