Major League Gaming has been in the business of eSports for 10 years and with games like "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" bundling their own brand of live eSports right on the game disc, it's clear that the popularity of competitive play is on the rise. Thousands of people attend each of MLG's live tournaments, but those numbers pale in comparison to the millions who tune in online. In fact, the league today reported 334% year over year growth in live streaming video viewers.
Over the course of 4 MLG Pro Circuit Championship tournaments in 2012, the world's largest eSports league pulled in a record-shattering 11.7 million unique viewers, who consumed over 15 million hours of live online video. In comparison, 2011's Pro Circuit events only brought in 3.5 million unique viewers.
“MLG’s 334% growth in live online audience this year surpasses growth demonstrated by traditional sports. This is a testament to the mainstream demand for competitive gaming and power of live streaming,” said Major League Gaming CEO Sundance DiGiovanni. “The last two years have been the largest in MLG’s 10-year history with over 636% growth in live viewers. I only expect that growth to continue in 2013.”
The infographic below further illustrates MLG's online growth in 2012:
It's great to see eSports becoming so popular, but what does this growth mean for the fans? Well, one can only assume that MLG, who recently received advertising support from the likes of CBS, will be taking full advantage of this explosive growth by creating more events that gamers around the globe can watch live via the web.
For years, the dream of bringing eSports coverage to a wider audience has been only that, a dream. But, as viewership increases and more sponsors get behind the still developing industry, it seems that dream is quickly becoming a reality. Though it almost goes without saying, you can bet we'll be keeping a close eye on MLG and the bright future for competitive gaming they continue to encourage.