CBS Interactive: Exclusive Deals with MLG and Twitch.TV Mainstream eSports

Today CBS Interactive pushed eSports pro gaming right into the mainstream with exclusive deals it announced today with MLG and Twitch.TV. Our gaming editor Christopher Poirier knows the score.

Anyone into gaming definitely noticed today that CBS Interactive just penned some serious content agreements with both Major League Gaming (MLG) and, launching eSports into the big time.

The eSports scene for pro competitive video gaming is a huge deal. Just like with any typical sport, there are rules, leagues, matches, players and, above all, fans.  The deal with CBSi elevates eSports to a whole new level. MLG and Twitch.TV will benefit hugely, and so will professional gamers and fans. It’s big.

To get an idea of how big, consider. MLG is the largest league around, easily boasting more than 15 million followers at any given moment.  The MLG and deals announced with CBS Interactive now confirm what we already expected.  eSports is getting huge. Check out these numbers.

You read that right: it said MLG increased visitors by nearly 225 percent over its 2010 season. And it’s still growing. MLG reported more online viewers than the online Super Bowl stream this year. And this is an international audience. Koreans and other Southeast Asian fans form a big part of the fan base, too. Add that to the growth in the U.S. and it’s easy to see why CBSi made this move with MPG and TwitchTV.

“The eSports 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,” CBSi president Jim Lanzone said in a statement. “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 eSports scene is commanding right now.”

The deal means CBSi has an exclusive partnership with TwitchTV, the world’s leading video game broadcasting network. Each month, TwitchTV attracts 16 million people from all over the world who tune in to watch other players, commentators and live gaming competitions and events. CBSi Games, which now has a total reach of 25 million users watching almost 50 million hours of live gaming video per month, says it now has rights to exclusively sell advertising, promotions and sponsorships for this community. Kaching.

As for MLG, CBSi is now the exclusive online broadcaster of its Pro Circuit competitions.  MLG is the world’s largest competitive video game league with more than 15 million hours of live video served to fans during the 2011 Pro Circuit season, nearly 2,500 hours of live gaming competition scheduled for 2012 and thousands of the world’s best players competing at MLG events annually.

In English: CBS Interactive is getting on board with eSports by getting access to exclusive content for online distribution, assisting both properties in advertising, and providing promotions and sponsor administration.  Besides associating a major, mainstream name media brand to eSports, CBS Interactive is essentially bringing major ad dollars to MLG and TwitchTV.  All in all, this is a big deal for all three players in business and a big win for professional gamers and pro-gaming fans.


So, gaming fans, sit back and get ready for more news because this is big and only more good news is on its way. It’ll be interesting to see whether other media properties line up to do deals with other gaming leagues and networks, like Intel Extreme Masters or the IGN Pro League. Already sponsors are backing individual pros in various brackets. If you’re into first person shooter (FPS), racer, Real Time Strategy (RTS) and Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMO) games, heads up. You have a shot at the big league.

I’m Chris Poirier and this is  Game on friends, game on.

(Photo Credit: MLG)


  • This is HUGE news for gamers every where. Overseas companies have been raking in money hand over fist for live, professional events. CBS Interactive saw the numbers and knew winner. This time, I think the timing will be right to reintroduce it in the US and watch it take off. It’s all about quality content, so time will tell, but for sure there are no losers in this deal!

  • I actually did a story on the very first pro gamer. This dates me. We featured him on World News Tonight with Peter Jennings and I recall that he won a red Ferrari but was too young to drive it! : )