Major League Gaming (MLG) today announced a partnership with Grupo Águia, Brazil’s largest sports entertainment and hospitality company, to launch MLG’s first international franchise, MLG Brazil. MLG is expanding to the largest market in Latin America to debut its first franchise after 11 years of successful events within North America, and partnerships throughout the world. Leveraging decades of expertise working with global sports and tourism initiatives like the World Cup, Grupo Águia will help build the competitive gaming platform in South America.
"International expansion through our MLG franchise system is an important part of the growth of MLG as a business and for eSports in general," MLG co-founder and President Mike Sepso told onGamers. "We expect to announce new global operations throughout the year We are happy to be collaborating first with Grupo Águia in Brazil, the largest and most established sports entertainment and hospitality company in one of the fastest growing economies in the world."
The collaboration kicks off with support for the Call of Duty Championship Brazilian Online Qualifiers on February 16th and February 23rd. MLG Brazil will coordinate with MLG in the US to facilitate the Online qualifiers as teams attempt to qualify for the $1 Million Dollar Call of Duty Championship in Los Angeles at the end of March. The Call of Duty Championship will feature the top 32 teams from around the globe and will be broadcast MLG.tv. Online tournaments and in-person events will be announced for MLG Brazil in the upcoming months.
“Grupo Águia’s longstanding position as the leading sports entertainment company in Latin America and extensive experience working with the World Cup made them the perfect partner for our debut franchise,” said Sepso. “MLG has long been focused on growing the competitive gaming scene and we quickly recognized the tremendous opportunity to create a strong presence in the largest economic market in Latin America. This is the first of many international franchises we plan to roll out in the coming years and we are excited to provide South American gamers with the ultimate platform to compete on a global scale.”
“MLG has built a new culture of competition and revolutionized the market by creating an innovative broadcasting platform similar to traditional sports. We are pleased to be entering into this growing industry with the global leader in the space,” said Paulo Castello Branco Filho, MLG Brazil CEO. “As the fourth largest market in the world, we know there is enormous potential in Brazil and an appetite for competition. Our goal is to further MLG’s global success using MLG’s proven model to help Brazilians earn a spot amongst the best eSports players in the world.”
With MLG's history of partnerships and current activity around Dota 2 and Call of Duty, one might expect MLG's initial expansion to come in Europe or Asia. Sepso says that partnerships with other leagues in those areas and an opportunity to build infrastructure in areas that do not have as much is why they chose Brazil.
"As the fourth largest and one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Brazil is an optimal place for our first direct international expansion", Sepso told onGamers. "Brazil will also be the center of the global sports world for the next several years as host to the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Gamers in South America do not have a localized platform to compete and we felt that MLG could offer an opportunity to interact with the best players on a global scale. In Western European countries like Sweden and the UK, MLG works with well-established eSports leagues like Dreamhack and Gfinity already. We want to grow eSports through direct MLG expansion in parts of the world that do not have a large, local organization that is part of the global eSports community."
Sepso says that while MLG will begin with Call of Duty, other titles will be added to the mix soon after.
"MLG Brasil will work with gamers in the region to determine the most appropriate and interesting titles in addition to those that MLG runs on a global basis", he said. "At the start, efforts will be focused on the Call of Duty Championship and helping Brazilian teams make their way to the finals this Spring."