While rumors of a CBS expansion into eSports were circulating wildly yesterday, this morning saw the release of an official press release detailing their plans. CBS Interactive, which handles all facets of the company’s online content for information and entertainment, signed exclusive deals with both Major League Gaming and Twitch TV in order to guarantee global broadcasting rights with two major players in the ever-expanding eSports market. The press release can be read in its entirety below. Aside from a variety of numbers and figures, it still remains to be seen how these massive partnerships will affect competitors, both negatively and positively, and what they actually mean for gamers and viewers alike.
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:
“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.”
About CBS Interactive
CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation, is the premier online content network for information and entertainment. With more than 250 million people visiting its properties each month, it is a top 10 Web property globally and a top 5 Web property in the U.S. in terms of unique video viewers. Its portfolio of leading brands, which include CNET, CBS.com, CBSNews.com, CBSSports.com, GameSpot, TV.com and Last.fm, span popular categories like technology, entertainment, sports, news and business.
Source: CBS Interactive
CBS Interactive Announces Expansion Into eSports Through Partnerships with MLG and Twitch TV