Activision Blizzard takes eSports into prime time territory!
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Activision Blizzard takes eSports into prime time territory!

Activision Blizzard, the world-leading video game developer and publisher that is redefining modern entertainment trends, has just scored big. Over the past few years, the company has become possibly the world’s most visible eSport champion, and now it’s pushing the fast-growing pastime into the spotlight: eSports is headed into prime time-television territory.

Activision Blizzard’s share price has risen by 24% so far this year

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Source: Yahoo Finance

Live coverage of Activision’s Overwatch League began a few days ago on the Disney XD channel. XD is hosting the playoffs, but ESPN will show the finals live, starting at 7pm New York time on July 27. The championship will be broadcast from the Barclays Center, where both days have been sold out. The finals will replay the following day on Disney XD and ESPN3.

Activision’s Overwatch League is the first major eSports event to crack prime-time TV. It’s based on Activision’s 2016 title Overwatch – itself a smash hit that features cartoonish graphics and action as players vie to control a series of points on a map. The League is a bold attempt to bring the same professionalism to eSports that you find in real world sporting organisations like FIFA or the NBA.

So far, it seems to be working: Activision has enlisted the help of many sporting and broadcasting professionals, and sold 12 city-based team franchises to investors (including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft) for $20 million each.

Today, eSports is widely believed to be one of the developments that will power gaming’s future. Last month, Goldman Sachs predicted that the next few years would see eSports grow in popularity by a massive amount. According to analysts at the group, there should be 276 million viewers by 2022, making eSports around the same size as the NFL (National Football League). By that point, annual revenue could stand at about $3 billion (last year, for comparison, it stood at $655 million). If that’s the case, early pioneers like Activision will be in a great position to capitalise.

Disclosure
Dominion holds Activision Blizzard in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.


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