Activision Blizzard

Esports : Blizzard crée sa division

C’est désormais officiel, Blizzard va compter sur l’esport dans les prochaines années !

On vous en parlait déjà début août, lorsque l’éditeur californien avait déposé une nouvelle marque du nom de « Compete », on avait alors spéculé sur le futur lancement d’un site internet avec une api pour pouvoir gérer des tournois.

road to blizzcon

Road to Blizzcon

Mais Blizzard semble vouloir aller beaucoup plus loin avec le recrutement de deux noms de l’audiovisuel :

  •  Steve Bornstein, ancien PDG de la chaîne ESPN et du NFL Network
  • Mike Sepso, co-fondateur et désormais ancien Président de la Major League Gaming (MLG)

 

C’est via un communiqué de presse qu’on a appris la nouvelle :

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 history. »

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 Twitch.
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.

 

Pour les non-anglophones un petit résumé :

Blizzard souhaite développer au sein de cette division tout un éco-système lié à l’esport, pour fournir aux fans la meilleure experience possible entre les différentes plateformes et zones géographiques. Il pense qu’il n’y a pas de meilleur duo que celui formé par :

  • Mike pour son expérience et sa vision du monde sportif
  • Steve pour avoir créé une maison pour l’e-sport (la MLG)

L’année dernière Blizzard a créé du contenu vu par plus de 150 millions de personnes pour un équivalent de 13 milliards d’heures.
Steve : Je suis persuadé que l’esports rivalisera avec le sport traditionnel, en terme d’opportunité, de publicité, de ventes de tickets, de licences, de sponsorings, et produits dérivés… Je suis excité à l’idée d’aider Blizzard à accroître sa future place de leader dans l’esports.

Mike : Etant engagé dans l’esports depuis plus de 12 ans, je ne peux pas être plus excité pour le futur de ce sport. Je suis confiant dans le fait que la compagnie saura exploiter les nombreuses opportunités que nous avons pour produire un contenu riche et divertissant fourni par nos joueurs. Activision Blizzard est uniquement positionné pour donner aux millions de joueurs à travers le monde ce qu’ils veulent, et je suis excité à l’idée d’aider et supporter cette communauté qui honore son histoire.

Je vous passe la fin du communiqué qui n’est autre qu’un résumé des derniers événements organisés par Activision Blizzard (leurs dotation/diffusions….)

A deux semaines de la Blizzcon, tout laisse à penser que de grosses annonces seront faites coté esport. Pour le savoir, rendez vous les 6 et 7 novembre prochains !