MAJOR LEAGUE GAMING SECURES $10 MILLION IN SERIES A FINANCING FROM RITCHIE CAPITAL TO BUILD WORLD’S FIRST PROFESSIONAL VIDEO GAME LEAGUE
Company Transforms Professional Video Gaming into Mainstream Sports Media Enterprise
Appoints Former TimeWarner Executive President & COO
NEW YORK CITY—FEBRUARY 22, 2006—Major League Gaming (MLG) Inc., the world’s first professional video game league, today announced that it has secured $10 million in series A funding from Ritchie Capital. The financing will help the company continue to transform competitive video game play into a mass market, global, sports media business. The company also announced that Matthew Bromberg, former General Manager of Moviefone and AOL Games, has joined the company as President and COO.
By elevating video game competition to the level of professional sport, MLG enables a large and growing community of fans and a roster of top sponsors to connect with—and celebrate—the global video game revolution. MLG produces an annual 7-city pro tour and championship; exclusively manages a roster of the top gamers in the world; and produces online and broadcast-quality programming that showcases MLG pros and this exciting new sports entertainment phenomenon.
“An industry with the broad participation and profound cultural impact of video gaming demands a more structured media-business involvement to support, expand, and energize it,” said Tom Crowley, Managing Director, Ritchie Capital Ventures. “We believe that MLG is uniquely positioned to deliver on the player, fan, and sponsor requirements for legitimate, global, video game competition across all live and media platforms.”
MLG is poised to become the first major media company that arises out of the video game industry, creating new opportunities for players, developers, publishers, media partners, and advertisers. MLG aims to shape the excitement and enthusiasm around competitive gaming into the first major video game entertainment brand. By packaging video game competition for the mass market, the company will provide all of these stakeholders a direct connection with the 168 million Americans who play video games today.
“From the very beginning, we’ve been focused on creating a great competitive experience for players and fans, and a compelling business opportunity for sponsors,” said Mike Sepso, co-founder and CEO of MLG. “This financing will drive rapid expansion of a true media business that will package video game competition for the mass market and provide great upside for everyone who loves this industry.”
Former TimeWarner Exec Matthew Bromberg Joins MLG
Matthew Bromberg has joined MLG as President and COO, and will focus on building out MLG’s media properties business. Prior to joining the company, he spent six years at Time Warner, first as general manager of MovieFone and then as the general manager of AOL Games. While heading up the MovieFone business, it became the number one movie site in the world, according to MediaMetrix. At AOL, Games was the most popular service after e-mail and instant messaging. Matthew transformed the business into a significant driver of advertising revenue and transaction and premium service fees for AOL. His initiatives included an expansion of the core business beyond web games to include offerings for PC and console gamers, with a focus on creating enhanced video-based offerings for broadband consumers.
“We’re excited to have Matthew join the executive team and help us transform this successful business into a global entertainment brand,” said Sundance DiGiovanni, co-founder of MLG. “Matthew has a deep understanding of how to coalesce consumer passion into multi-faceted, long-term businesses and that’s exactly what we’re building.”
Previously, Matthew was at CMP Media, most recently as Publisher and General Manager of the TechWeb Network. He also worked for Steven Brill as Deputy Publisher at American Lawyer Media/Court TV. He has a B.A in English from Cornell University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
About Ritchie Capital
Ritchie Capital is a diversified alternative asset management firm established in 1997 with interests in hedge funds, commodities, private equity, venture capital, insurance, energy and real estate and with offices in Chicago and Geneva IL, New York, London, Bermuda, Hong Kong and Menlo Park, CA. Through Ritchie Capital Ventures, the firm invests in early stage companies in the energy, biotech, healthcare, information technology and digital media sectors. Visit Ritchie Capital on the web at www.ritchiecapital.com.
About MLG (Major League Gaming)
MLG is the world’s first professional videogame league, creating new opportunities for players, developers, publishers, media partners, and advertisers. MLG aims to shape the excitement and enthusiasm around competitive gaming into the first major video game entertainment brand. With the support of major sponsors, we produce a pro tour that in 2006 will make 7 stops in major cities across the U.S. We’ve signed the best gamers in the world to exclusive deals. We’re producing a variety of online and broadcast-quality programming that showcases our pros and this exciting new sports entertainment phenomenon. More information can be found at www.mlgpro.com.
MLG 2006 pro tour dates: New York (March 24-26); Dallas (April 21-23); Atlanta (June 2-4); Los Angeles (July 14-16), Philadelphia (August 25-27); Playoffs—Chicago (October 6-8); National Championship—Las Vegas (November 17-19).