Partnership Between Activision and ESL

Activision has recently made several large moves to expand their presence in eSports.

Activision has recently made several large moves to expand their presence in eSports. The company, a top video game publisher and well known for the Call of Duty franchise, hired Steve Bornstein, the former CEO of ESPN and the NFL Network, as their new head of eSports last week. Joining him is Mike Sespo, former President of Major League Gaming.

Earlier in the year, Activision announced the Call of Duty World League. Though not the first of it’s kind in eSports, the Call of Duty World League will be the first time that professional Call of Duty players from around the globe will be competing in the same circuit. Up until now, Activision’s control in Call of Duty eSports extended only to the $1 million Call of Duty Championship, which was held every spring since 2013 on Black Ops 2 (not counting Call of Duty XP).

A source has recently stated that Activision and ESL, the world’s largest video game events company, will be announcing a partnership. 

*Edit – This news was confirmed on stream at the Paris Games Week event during the Call of Duty Black Ops 3 eSports livestream. 

ESL is known for top-notch eSports events around the world. The Germany-based company has hosted the largest and most prestigious events in CS:GO, selling out stadiums. They have even expanded into North America, filling Madison Square Garden in New York for a DOTA 2 event. They have clearly taken notice of Activision’s recent expansions and a partnership can only put eSports on an even bigger stage.

What does this news mean for competitive Call of Duty? Major League Gaming has long been the leader in the eSport, hosting online leagues and many large events in North America. With their current infrastructure, many expected Activision to partner with MLG in order to make the Call of Duty World League work, but now this doesn’t seem to be the case.

More answers will come as the partnership is announced and Black Ops 3 is released.