Blizzard has created a new division to handle its Overwatch eSports programs, a major part of which is based on the "full integration" of Major League Gaming.
Activision Blizzard acquired MLG in January 2016, with a stated goal of creating "the ESPN of eSports." According to a blog post published by Blizzard yesterday, however, realising that goal may largely rest on the shoulders of Overwatch.
The MLG name will now be used for a division within Blizzard Entertainment, to "handle management, operation, sales, and distribution for Overwatch esports programs, including the Overwatch League and Overwatch World Cup." The move was described as a "full integration" of MLG into Blizzard, though the MLG-branded media network will continue to broadcast eSports content from all Activision Blizzard games.
The stated focus of Blizzard's new MLG division is Overwatch, but it will also be the "operational foundation, partnership hub, and media-production network" for the Call of Duty World League. Blizzard will retain separate eSports teams for Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, StarCraft, and World of Warcraft, though they will all work with MLG on media production, sales and distribution.
Shortly after the acquisition of MLG, Activision Blizzard's Bobby Kotick set long-term expectations of broadcast revenues comparable to those in the NFL and the Premier League. That ideal is still some way off, of course, but last November Blizzard outlined a detailed plan for the Overwatch League that emphasised "long-term stability."