Competitive video gaming (also known as eSports) is definitely starting to attract mainstream attention and popularity — to that end, CBS Interactive has just announced partnerships with two of the biggest eSports properties, Major League Gaming and TwitchTV. MLG is the world's biggest eSports league, with tournaments that regularly draw thousands of fans and 2,500 hours of live gaming competition scheduled for this year. Now, CBS Interactive will be the exclusive broadcaster of all MLG Pro Circuit competitions; CBS will also provide advertising representation. As for TwitchTV, it's one of the biggest video game broadcasting networks, and now CBS will exclusively sell ads, promotions, and sponsorships via the CBSi Games brand.
While this partnership should help MLG and TwitchTV widen their respective audiences, it's no secret why CBS is investing in eSports: the lucrative 18- to 34-year-old male demographic. Jim Lanzone, the president of CBS Interactive said that "the eSports scene is one of the hottest trends in video, and is rapidly attracting the core 18-34 male demographic in greater numbers than any other medium or category." eSports watchers are also a lot more engaged than the average online video-watcher: CBSi Games notes that people watch live gaming competition for 23 minutes on average, compared to three minutes spent watching other online, on-demand video. Capturing more of this engaged audience will certainly help CBS sell more ads, but the partnership should hopefully be beneficial to eSports at large. Sundance DiGiovanni, the CEO and Co-Founder of MLG, said that "we will now be able to create a premiere eSports destination for current and future fans alike."