Activision Blizzard announced today that former FOX Sports executive Pete Vlastelica has been named President of CEO of Major League Gaming, or MLG. He will join sports broadcaster Steve Bornstein and Mike Sepso to form what Activision claims is an “all-star esports team.”
The founder of the online sports network the Yardbarker, which he sold to FOX in 2010, Vlastelica was originally the FOX Sports’ Executive Vice President of Digital. While at that position, he focused on content and product development, social media, and multi-platform content properties, which includes the Emmy-award winning “Garbage Time with Katie Nolan.” In addition to that, he oversaw the growth of FOXSports.com and the mobile app FOX Sports Go. His biggest accomplishment was the FOX Sports Go app’s live streaming of Super Bowl XLVIII, which set a new internet record for streaming viewers for a sporting event. He will focus on enhancing company content, broadcasting capabilities, and media distribution for a healthier and far-reaching esports society.
Vlastelica has said that he is joining Activision Blizzard due to “the rare combination of massive digital scale and deep audience engagement around competitive gaming, and because there’s no better category of live streaming video content out there.” He believes that video games have a place in the future of traditional sports, and that Activision Blizzard will be the pioneers of that movement.
Several Activision Blizzard executives seemed thrilled about the choice. Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick said that “[Vlasetlica] is an entrepreneurial leader with a history of creating inspired content and developing new digital channels of distribution.” MLG Chairman Steve Bornstein supported those claims, saying that he “understands that whether it’s on a field, a console or a phone, players and fans want to experience community, camaraderie and excellence in competition. He’s a rare talent who will deliver great opportunities to our players and fans.”
Activision Blizzard has made several steps towards enhancing their esports presence in the past year. They announced their esports division last October, naming CEO of ESPN and NFL Network Steve Bornstein as the division’s chairman. Activision acquired MLG last December, which is one of the most popular competitive gaming leagues in the world. MLG’s Counter Strike: Global Offensive Championship set record esports viewership with a total of 71 million video views. Finally, Activision announced in September the Call of Duty World League, which MXDWN Games has just completed coverage of the grand finale.
Activision continues to look for leadership in the traditional sports scene to dictate the future of their digital counterpart. Vlastelica will reside in Activision’s Santa Monica headquarters under the supervision of Chief Operating OFficer Thomas Tippl.