Feb 16, 2011 - Source: IMG

Companies Spearhead International Expansion of the Sport of Competitive Gaming

IMG Worldwide (IMG), the premier global sports, fashion and media company, and Major League Gaming (MLG), the world’s largest professional video game league and provider of cross platform online videogame competition, announced today that they have entered into a strategic partnership agreement to further the awareness and popularity of competitive gaming internationally.

Under the terms of the agreement, IMG, utilizing the expertise of its IMG Media Group, will help build international brand awareness of MLG through distribution, programming and marketing agreements with select broadcast and broadband partners.  IMG will work to increase traffic, convert users and drive media consumption across all MLG platforms especially in the gameplay area.  The partners will work together to host regional championship events around the globe, identify new talent and expand the brand partnership platform to establish competitive gaming as a preeminent sport worldwide.
“Video gaming is the #1 activity among the 18-24 male demographic and global video game sales exceeded $50 billion in 2009,” said Michel Masquelier, President of IMG Media.  “Gaming is truly a global phenomenon and we are very proud to partner with the market leader in the competitive gaming industry to elevate the sport to a new level.” 

“Since our inception, our mission at MLG has been to bring competitive gaming to the legions of fans and gamers around the globe,” said Sundance DiGiovanni, co-founder and CEO, Major League Gaming.  “We have now become the dominant competitive-videogame property and with IMG as our partner, we can further position MLG and gaming as a commanding sport worldwide.”

MLG exclusively targets the 40 million consumers in North America who have a passion for playing video games as a competitive social activity. It is recognized as the sanctioning body for both competitive professional and amateur gaming competition via in-person events and online activity.

MLG reaches roughly 4.5 million consumers each month online and attracts more than 4,000 new members daily at majorleaguegaming.com.  The highly engaged audience interacts with the MLG brand via online tournaments, thousands of videos on MLG.tv and through MLG’s new social network for gamers.  Additional functionality will be rolled out in the coming months both online and via mobile apps.

MLG also operates the multi-city Pro-Circuit tour, kicking off its 8th season in Dallas on April 1. This year’s tour will include competitions in six major U.S. markets that are streamed live online and more than $1 million in prizes and player stipends, making this the largest season in MLG history.  In 2010, more than 600,000 unique viewers tuned in for the live broadcast of each weekend event and the complete tour delivered 11 million live streams.  In addition, MLG Intellectual Property/Promotions offers some of the most successful retail and digital promotions targeting the young adult consumer through partnerships with world-renown brands.
IMG Media is the largest independent producer of sports programming in the world. Responsible for more than 18,500 hours of television and more than 20,000 hours of radio annually, the company has delivered in front of some of the world's largest audiences.

IMG Media is also the world’s largest independent distributor of sports programming, distributing over 19,000 hours of content to major global broadcasters annually. This content originates from more than 200 clients and events, including Wimbledon, the Australian Open, the ATP Masters Series, the R&A (governing body and organizer of The Open Championship), International Rugby Board (IRB), MotoGP, the National Football League (NFL) and the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB). IMG Media operates from over 30 offices worldwide and has daily exchanges with over 4,000 key media contacts. IMG Media distributes across all forms of media, including TV, audio, fixed media, inflight and closed circuit, broadband and mobile. IMG Media also maintains the world’s largest sports archive with more than 250,000 hours of footage.