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Swedish broadcasting firm pays $86M for a majority stake in ESL

The Modern Times Group, best known for its TV sports broadcast networks, will buy a 74 percent stake in eSports firm ESL for €78 million (~$86.3 million USD) to expand its eSports coverage.

Swedish entertainment company Modern Times Group has laid out plans to buy a 74 percent stake in eSports firm ESL for €78 million (~$86.3 million USD at current exchange rates.)

MTG is best known for operating both free and paid sports-focused TV networks in multiple countries, making this a significant investment in eSports on the part of a traditional sports broadcast company.

However, it's not unprecedented; MTG already operates an eSports enthusiast website and broadcasts some eSports coverage. Those efforts are likely to expand now that it's made a majority investment in the Cologne-based Turtle Entertainment, which produces the ESL.

"This investment is a key milestone in our digital development," stated MTG chief Jørgen Madsen Lindemann in a press release confirming the deal. "We look forward to working with the talented Turtle team to grow the global esports community, and to make this exciting content even more broadly available online and on TV."

The ESL has already been working to expand its platform; in November the firm struck a deal with 343 to launch a dedicated Halo eSports league, and earlier this year it released its own eSports matchmaking toolkit aimed at indie game makers.

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