MLG president sees eSports comparable to NFL in near future
Major League Gaming’s 2013 Spring Championships did quite well last weekend, earning the eyes and ears of thousands of gamers and eventually becoming MLG’s largest event ever. But that isn’t enough for MLG President Mike Sepso, whose goal is make professional gaming one of the top five sports in North America.
Speaking with Digital Trends, Sepso said MLG is already better at Internet broadcasting than traditional sports behemoths such as the NFL.
“We live in the Internet age, not the television age,” Sepso said. “If the NFL was starting today, they would not do rights deals with television networks. They would broadcast it all themselves. And we got to do that from the very beginning. Although we did TV for a few years, our audience has always been bigger online. So we get to be both the NFL and ESPN.”
Sepso recognizes that most of the people who watch MLG’s events aren’t the same people who watch the regular, ball-based sports. They’re the 16-24 year old male crowd, many of whom don’t have cable. Their TV comes from the Internet, and that’s where Sepso wants to focus his attention.
“People under 24 don’t have cable,” Sepso said. “If you sell your rights to ESPN and Fox and CBS and ABC and NBC, how are you going to reach 24-and-younger viewers? You can’t get five million people to tune in for three hours on television, and the reality is 80 percent of our audience doesn’t have a cable subscription, so how are they going to watch? Why force the audience to go somewhere that’s not native to them, right?”
It’ll probably be a while before we see video games reaching the NFL’s audience size, but it’s nice to know cyborg John Madden will be on our side when the two mediums go head to head.