It’s only a matter of time before someone plans a major heist to knock off one of these big gaming tournaments. I mean, that’s where all the cash is.
Just look at Major League Gaming. Its video site, MLG.tv, is doing better than ever. The company reported that its viewership was up 253 percent year over year in the first quarter of this year. That’s some rapid growth for a platform that is only around 16 months old. The e-sports organization, which holds regular tournaments on MLG.tv, says that its audience grows by around 70 percent every quarter. From January through March, fans watched more hours of video than in the previous two quarters combined. Capturing that kind of attention from fans of pro gaming is important because that market will likely reach $500 million by 2017, according to analyst. While MLG.tv isn’t sharing its exact numbers, the site makes up a significant portion of e-sports’ millions of viewers even if it doesn’t quite match the size of something like Twitch.
And MLG.tv is growing even faster when it comes to money. The company revealed that its ad revenue in the first quarter jumped by 482 percent year-over-year. That’s a mammoth spike that is primarily due to the fact that brands are willing to pay a premium to reach MLG’s audience of 13-to-35-year-old males, which is a key demographic for marketers.
Prior to launching MLG.tv, Major League Gaming was primarily focused on live events and working with video partners like Twitch. But the company clearly saw the appetite for online video, and its growth is evidence of that.
In a statement, MLG president and cofounder Mike Sepso said his team “invested heavily in [its] ad solution and focused on mobile and over-the-top-video devices on Xbox Live, Roku, and Chromecast.” This has empowered fans to watch whenever and however they want.
In addition to focusing on delivering content, MLG also invested heavily in acquiring strong creators. This includes people like PewDiePie and pros for games like Call of Duty. These content producers bring in their fans, and that helps to boost MLG.tv’s viewer base. These top video stars are drawn to MLG because the company has such a strong relationship with brands, and this translates into more money.
“We have proven to be the most successful platform for partners looking to monetize their audience and have been deluged with incoming requests for channels,” MLG.tv vice president of content acquisition Rishi Chadha said in a statement.
Looking ahead, MLG says it expects its growth to continue. It will sign new partners, but it also expects its tools to increase the amount of money that advertisers will pay to reach viewers to balloon by around 20 percent. That’s mean even more money as more people tune into MLG.tv.