Markets

Activision Creates E-sports Unit Led by ex-ESPN Executive

Activision Blizzard, Inc.ATVI is eyeing the lucrative e-sports business. Yesterday, the company announced that it is launching an e-sports unit spearheaded by former ESPN CEO Steve Bornstein, who will serve as the chairman.

Co-founder and president of Major League Gaming (MLG) Mike Sepso will be joining the unit as its senior vice president. Activision refrained from providing further details on the matter. Shares were up 3% following the announcement.

The newly created e-sports unit will be the video game giant's third. It currently reports results under two segments namely Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Publishing.

Earlier, Activision's e-sports ventures involved the launch of Heroes of the Dorm , the first collegiate e-sports event telecast live on ESPN2. It had around 6,000 collegiate players from over 460 schools competing in the tournament. In September, Activision announced that it was forming the Call of Duty World League for professional and amateur gamers, with $3 million prize money.

Though a bit puzzling, the concept of e-sports has found takers. E-sports refers to live video game tournaments. Like traditional sports, even these are held at stadiums and are televised or broadcasted online. Importantly, these tournaments have alluring prize money.

As per sources, nearly 11,000 spectators turned up at the Madison Square Garden for the "League of Legends" regional championship match in August this year. Moreover, Twitch TV and YouTube's Gaming channel have been instrumental in making e-sports popular. Millions of viewers regularly tune in on Twitch apps and Alphabet Inc.'s. GOOGL YouTube. Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN acquired Twitch last year. Recently, Time Warner Inc TWX announced that it will feature live Friday night broadcasts, through formation of an e-sports league on Turner Broadcasting.

Per research firm Newzoo, it is estimated that the number of e-sports fans will cross 323 million by 2018 from 226 million currently.

According to Bornstein, e-sports has tremendous growth opportunities and is likely to snatch a good deal of "advertising, ticket sales, licensing, sponsorships and merchandising" from conventional sporting events including soccer. He also said that Activision's entertainment content drew 150 million people with over 13 billion hours of gaming last year.

At present, Activision sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report >>

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

ACTIVISION BLZD (ATVI): Free Stock Analysis Report

AMAZON.COM INC (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report

TIME WARNER INC (TWX): Free Stock Analysis Report

ALPHABET INC-A (GOOGL): Free Stock Analysis Report

To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

Zacks Investment Research

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

In This Story

AMZNGOOGLATVI

Other Topics

Stocks

Latest Markets Videos

Zacks

Zacks is the leading investment research firm focusing on stock research, analysis and recommendations. In 1978, our founder discovered the power of earnings estimate revisions to enable profitable investment decisions. Today, that discovery is still the heart of the Zacks Rank. A wealth of resources for individual investors is available at www.zacks.com.

Learn More