In a show of support for the future of professional gaming, CBS announced it was partnering with online streaming platform Twitch TV and Major League Gaming, North America’s largest professional gaming league.
The partnership combines MLG and Twitch TV with CBSi’s online presence, which includes gamespot.com, CNet, Metacritic, CBS Sports, and Last.fm. Now, CBSi, with its 25 million users, will exclusively sell advertising, promotions and sponsorships from Twitch TV, a website with over 16 million global monthly users.
In addition to becoming Twitch TV’s sole advertising platform, CBSi will also become the exclusive advertising representative and online broadcaster of MLG tournaments and competitions, breathing new life into electronic sports in North America.
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"The e-sports 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 of 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 e-sports scene is commanding right now."
Esports have long been the realm of South Korea, home to the masters of professional gaming. But over the last few years, esports have become more and more popular in North America. And now, Major League Gaming hopes to imitate South Korea’s success, seeking investors and sponsors to help it grow financially.
"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."
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After a few sponsorship shake ups, the power and longevity of CBS is a brand the MLG needs to perhaps cement itself, and esports, as a force to be reckoned with in the North American sports world.