A recent report from technology news site The Next Web explains both Major League Gaming and Twitch.tv have seen a sharp yet steady growth in audience, with both helping the rise of eSports as a real profession outside of Korea, otherwise known as the world’s professional gaming capital.
What the partnership entails differs between each of the companies. Twitch.tv and CBS Interactive have signed an exclusive deal that will feature advertising, promotions and sponsorships to the community. CBSi is now also the exclusive online broadcaster for Major League Gaming Pro Circuit competitions, as well as advertising.
Considering that CBSi Games has a reported reach of 25 millions users worldwide, compared to Twitch.tv’s 16 million, as well as being well versed in the nuances of advertising and branding, the possible increase to both MLG and Twitch.tv’s current audience is massive, as well as increasing CBS’s own brand and exposure to an already large demographic.
With such a large partnership, can TV be the next market? The Next Web certainly thinks so, as long as the gaming community at large are able to keep the in-fighting to a minimum. However, in the spirit of great sporting TV, hostilities towards other teams and players generally encourage the competitive spirit as well as making for great viewing. With CBS’ support, televised eSports has a chance to making it to TV as a regular thing.
Full statement below:
CBS INTERACTIVE EXPANDS INTO ESPORTS CATEGORY WITH EXCLUSIVE LIVE GAMING VIDEO AND LEAGUE PARTNERSHIPS
Partnership with TwitchTV brings the World’s Largest Live Video Gaming Community to CBS Interactive
Deal with Major League Gaming, the Largest Competitive Video Game League, Guarantees Global Broadcast Rights to Fast Growing eSports Scene
SAN FRANCISCO – April 17, 2012 – CBS Interactive today announced a major expansion into the fast-growing categories of live gaming and eSports through exclusive partnerships with TwitchTV and Major League Gaming (MLG). By combining the world’s biggest live video gaming community with the most popular eSports league, and its flagship gaming property, GameSpot.com, CBS Interactive Games now serves more than 3 billion minutes of live gaming and eSports content monthly, making it the most engaged video property for gamers worldwide.
The expansion of the CBS Interactive Games group includes the following deals:
- Partnership with TwitchTV: CBS Interactive has signed an exclusive partnership with TwitchTV, the world’s leading video game broadcasting network. Each month, TwitchTV attracts 16 million people from all over the world who tune in to watch other players, commentators, and live gaming competitions and events. CBSi Games, which now has a total reach of 25 million users watching almost 50 million hours of live gaming video per month, will exclusively sell advertising, promotions and sponsorships for this community.
- Partnership with Major League Gaming (MLG): The world’s most prominent eSports league, Major League Gaming (MLG), has signed a partnership with CBS Interactive to be the exclusive online broadcaster of their Pro Circuit competitions, as well as for advertising representation. MLG is the world’s largest competitive video game league with over 15 million hours of live video served to fans during the 2011 Pro Circuit season, nearly 2,500 hours of live gaming competition scheduled in 2012, and thousands of the world’s best players competing at MLG events annually.
“The eSports scene is one of the hottest trends in video, and is rapidly attracting the core 18-34 male demographic in greater numbers than any other medium or category,” said Jim Lanzone, President, CBS Interactive. “With these partnerships, CBSi now represents the biggest audience in live gaming and is able to offer our advertising partners a unique mix of trusted, premium content along with the huge engagement and audience that the eSports scene is commanding right now.”
Competitive gaming, often referred to as eSports, has grown dramatically over the past several years driven by the success of platforms like TwitchTV and the popularity of live gaming. On average, people tune into live gaming competitions and events for 23 minutes versus the 3 minutes for a typical on-demand clip. Across CBS Interactive Games, more than 3 billion minutes of video are served each month to 18-34 year old men, making these sites 300% more likely to deliver this coveted demographic than traditional video sites like YouTube. In addition, live eSports competitions deliver a massively engaged audience, with fans engaging real time through social media versus the quick tune-in, tune-out mentality of watching clips.
“The people that visit TwitchTV make up the most engaged audience online today. Each tournament we broadcast draws millions of fans that congregate online through our platform to root for their teams and connect with their peers through social media,” said Emmett Shear, CEO of TwitchTV. “The combination of TwitchTV’s engagement and the reach of GameSpot’s premium editorial content is a perfect match. With the benefit of the sales and marketing efforts of CBS Interactive, we expect this partnership to be a great success.”
As the success of eSports skyrockets, so does the popularity of the MLG. In 2011, the MLG Pro Circuit enjoyed its strongest year to date since being founded in 2002 with viewers from a record 175 countries tuning in to watch the MLG National Championships in Providence, Rhode Island, last November.
“Major League Gaming’s live audience is growing in popularity to rival some of the most popular traditional sporting events with a highly engaged fan base worldwide,” said Sundance DiGiovanni, CEO and Co-Founder, Major League Gaming. “Leveraging the reach of CBS Interactive, we will now be able to create a premiere eSports destination for current and future fans alike, while providing some of the most powerful brands an opportunity to reach this coveted, passionate audience.”
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