Activision Blizzard Media Networks Announces Record Esports Viewership

Audiences Set New CS:GO Major Records With 45 Million Hours Watched
and Record-Breaking Concurrent Viewership

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Activision Blizzard Media Networks, a division of Activision Blizzard,
Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), today announced that Major League Gaming’s
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championship (CS:GO Major) set
new viewership records during its March 30 – April 3 broadcast from
Columbus, Ohio. Audiences generated 71 million video views,1
watched a record-breaking 45 million hours of live broadcast2
and set a new record of 1.6 million concurrent viewers3
across OTT, web, mobile and in-game streaming during this year’s event.

This breaks the previously-reported CS:GO Major record of 34 million
hours viewed and 1.3 million concurrent viewers set at the 2015 CS:GO
Major in Cologne, Germany.4

“Last year, more than 225 million people watched competitive gaming, and
the passion, engagement and size of this audience only continues to
grow,” said Mike Sepso, Senior Vice President of Activision Blizzard
Media Networks and Major League Gaming (MLG) co-founder. “As this year’s
CS:GO Major numbers show, Activision Blizzard Media Networks’ commitment
to broadcasting premium content and creating incredible events is
resonating with players and fans around the world.”

With the goal of building on its competitive gaming leadership and
becoming the ESPN of esports, Activision Blizzard announced its Media
Networks Division in October 2015, and recruited former ESPN CEO Steve
Bornstein and MLG co-founder Mike Sepso to serve as the division’s
Chairman and Senior Vice President, respectively. Activision Blizzard
acquired the business of MLG in December 2015 to further its ability to
deliver best-in-class fan experiences and premium broadcast content
across games, platforms and geographies.

This year’s CS:GO Major was the first held in North America, with the
world’s best CS:GO teams competing for a $1 million prize pool. The
historic competition, held at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, drew a
sold-out crowd of over 10,0005 fans for each of the three
final days of live competition. The Columbus event concluded on April 3
and peaked with a record 1.6 million concurrent viewers6 as
the Luminosity Gaming team claimed top honors and the majority of the
prize pool. Overall, MLG produced 68 hours of premium content broadcast
in 15 languages during the event.

Counter-Strike competitions have been held globally for the past 16
years, with game developer Valve instituting a CS:GO Major system in
2014. The Columbus championship is the eighth CS:GO Major event held
since 2013, and the first produced by MLG.

With over 225 million unique viewers, the esports audience is estimated
to be bigger than audiences for many professional sports leagues.
Creating premium content for these audiences will provide significant
opportunities in ticket sales, advertising, sponsorships, licensing and
merchandising. By 2017, esports is projected to have over 300 million

About Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard, Inc., a member of the S&P 500, is the world’s most
successful standalone interactive entertainment company. We delight over
500 million monthly active users around the world through franchises
including Activision’s Call of Duty®, Destiny and Skylanders®,
Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft®, StarCraft®, Diablo®
and Hearthstone®: Heroes of Warcraft™, and King’s Candy Crush®, Pet
® and Farm Heroes®. The company is one of the
Fortune ʺ100 Best Companies To Work For®ʺ. Headquartered in Santa
Monica, California, Activision Blizzard has operations throughout the
world, and its games are played in 196 countries. More information
about Activision Blizzard and its products can be found on the companyʹs

1 Data provided by, Twitch and GOTV
Data provided by,, Twitch and GOTV
3 Data
provided by, Twitch and GOTV
Press Release

5 Ticketmaster
6 Data
provided by, Twitch, and GOTV
7 NewZoo


Director, Communications for Activision Blizzard Media Networks
Dugan, 646-406-2993