SANTA MONICA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced a new division
that will build on the Company's competitive gaming leadership by
creating all-new ways to deliver the best-in-class fan experience across
games, platforms and geographies, furthering the development of its
world-leading esports ecosystem. Former CEO of ESPN and the NFL Network
Steve Bornstein will serve as the division's Chairman and Mike Sepso,
who was most recently a co-founder and president of Major League Gaming
(MLG), will serve as its Senior Vice President.
"Celebrating our players and their unique skill, dedication and
commitment is the essence of our esports initiatives," said Bobby
Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard. "Blizzard
Entertainment and Activision Publishing have been leaders in the
development of esports. With that leadership, our strong franchises, our
deep history and experience in esports, and now two additional industry
leaders, we intend to further enhance our efforts and make certain this
remains an important growth driver for Activision Blizzard."
Kotick added, "There are no better leaders for this new initiative than
Steve and Mike. Steve has unparalleled experience in creating a sports
network powerhouse and his groundbreaking leadership at ESPN and the NFL
Network shaped how the whole world experiences sports. Mike's
entrepreneurial vision helped make ‘esports' a household word and he is
uniquely positioned to take the experience to the next level."
"Last year, Activision Blizzard created entertainment that was viewed
and played by over 150 million people for more than 13 billion hours,"
said Steve Bornstein, Chairman of the new division and former CEO of
ESPN and the NFL Network. "I believe esports will rival the biggest
traditional sports leagues in terms of future opportunities, and between
advertising, ticket sales, licensing, sponsorships and merchandising,
there are tremendous growth areas for this nascent industry. I'm excited
to help Activision Blizzard further its leadership position in esports."
"As a member of the esports community for over 12 years, I couldn't be
more excited for the future of the sport. I am confident that the
company's industry-leading content will capture the many opportunities
we have to entertain and celebrate our players," said Mike Sepso, Senior
Vice President for Activision Blizzard. "Activision Blizzard is uniquely
positioned to give millions of fans around the world what they want, and
I'm excited to help support this community in a way that honors its
Activision Blizzard has a rich history in esports:
Blizzard Entertainment's StarCraft® was the early pioneer in
large-scale mainstream, televised esports, since the 1990s.
Blizzard Entertainment has many of the world's biggest and most
beloved esports competitions. This year's BlizzCon® event will take
place November 6-7 in Anaheim, Calif. and will feature the global
finals for StarCraft® II, World of Warcraft®, Heroes of the Storm™ and
Hearthstone®. Players have been competing for more than $4 million in
prizes across Road to BlizzCon tournaments.
Earlier this year, Blizzard Entertainment launched Heroes of the
Dorm™, the first collegiate esports event to be televised on ESPN2.
More than 6,000 collegiate players, representing 460-plus schools,
competed in the tournament with the winning team from UC Berkeley
securing the grand prize of fully-paid tuition for each of its members.
Activision Publishing hosts the annual Call of Duty Championship. Call
of Duty® is the top console esports franchise in the world.
On September 24, 2015, Activision Publishing announced the creation of
the Call of Duty® World League, which provides a $3 million prize pool
to professional and amateur players.
Since its launch, Destiny has become the most watched console game on
About Activision Blizzard
Activision Blizzard, Inc., a member of the S&P 500, is the world's most
successful video game company. We develop and publish some of the most
successful and beloved entertainment franchises in any medium, including Call
of Duty®, Destiny®, Skylanders®, Guitar Hero®,
World of Warcraft®, StarCraft®, Diablo®,
Hearthstone®: Heroes of Warcraft™, and Heroes of the Storm™.
The company is one of the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies To Work For®"
2015. Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, we maintain operations
throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Activision Blizzard
develops and publishes games on all leading interactive platforms and
its games are available in most countries around the world. More
information about Activision Blizzard and its products can be found on
the company's website, www.activisionblizzard.com.
View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151022005547/en/
Activision Blizzard, Inc.
Elizabeth Ashford, 424-272-3015
Director, Global Communications
Source: Activision Blizzard, Inc.
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