The official press release follows, along with a special Q&A that addresses many of the questions our community members will likely have regarding the announcement.
MAJOR LEAGUE GAMING SIGNS $1.25 MILLION IN LONG TERM CONTRACTS
WITH ITS TOP PROS
World’s Best Gamers Signed Exclusively to MLG
Red Bull Becomes Official Energy Drink of MLG, and Deepens its Support of MLG’s Pro Players
JUNE 21, 2006 – NEW YORK CITY - Major League Gaming (MLG), the world’s first professional video game league, today announced that it has signed the nation’s leading four-man Halo 2 team, Final Boss, to a $1 million dollar contract, and Tsquared, one of the top individual pros in the world, to a $250,000 deal. These are by far the largest signings ever for professional video gamers, and the multi-year deals provide for these players to commit exclusively to MLG.
“Having a true professional league requires that you be able to identify, scout and sign the best players in the world,” said Sundance DiGiovanni, co-founder and CMO of Major League Gaming. “We’re constantly on the lookout for the next big stars. Our Pro Circuit competitions give millions of gamers a chance to qualify to compete for their opportunity to make big money and gain recognition on the world stage as a pro gamer.”
MLG also announced today that Red Bull will become the official energy drink for MLG. Red Bull has been a long time supporter of a key member of Final Boss, David “Walshy” Walsh, as well as of the broader MLG community. Red Bull’s relationship with both Walshy and MLG are further validation of MLG’s strategy of bringing video gaming to the mass market alongside some of the strongest youth brands in the world.
TEAM FINAL BOSS
Final Boss is the most dominant team on the MLG Circuit, having swept through the Western, Eastern and Central Conference Championships in 2005, in addition to taking first place at the National Championships in 2004 and 2005, and going undefeated so far in 2006. The team is renowned and feared for its ability to adapt to any style of play, allowing it to beat competitors at their own game.
— The team is lead by its captain, David “Walshy” Walsh, a 21-year old from Michigan. Walshy is one of the most respected gamers in the league, having cut his teeth as a top player during MLG’s inaugural season in 2004. He has developed a style of play known as “The Claw,” now imitated by Halo 2 players around the world.
— “The Ogre Twins” – Daniel “Ogre1″ Ryan and Thomas “Ogre2″ Ryan – are believed by many to have telepathic powers for their uncanny ability to anticipate one another’s moves. Both are students at Ohio University. Their successful balance of school and gaming has helped them become the best duo in the sport today.
— Ryan “Saiyan” Danford has a quiet style that makes him a flawless team player, always unselfishly backing up his teammates. Saiyan is also a swimmer and soccer player.
“It’s a huge honor to be part of the first gaming team to get this kind of money,” said David “Walshy” Walsh. “This kind of contract just shows how serious MLG is about building the League. Three years ago I never could have imagined that I’d be making more money than my parents playing video games!”
Tom “Tsquared” Taylor is the brash leader of team Str8 Rippin, the only team to beat Final Boss in the 2005 Pro Circuit and currently sitting strongly in second place. Already MLG’s standout media star, Tom has been the subject of an MTV True Life documentary and is featured in Stuff Magazine’s “Successful under 30s list” along with other overachievers like LeBron James. He has been featured in worldwide media including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Hollywood Reporter. The drama and intensity of the 2006 Boost Mobile MLG Pro Circuit is at a fever pitch as Tom and his teammates Fonzi, Foulacy and Defy attempt to knock the seemingly invincible Final Boss off the championship pedestal.
In addition to Tom’s pro gaming career, the 19-year-old started his own company, Gaming-Lessons.com, which provides instruction from top gamers. He has given lessons to everyone from middle-aged housewives to doctors to Hip-Hop label execs.
“Like any professional athlete I want to be the best at what I do, and getting this contract shows the dedication I’ve put forth,” said Tom “Tsquared” Taylor. “I’m living the dream playing video games for a living. MLG has opened a lot of doors for me and this contract is a huge honor.”
In addition to Team Final Boss and Tsquared, MLG has an additional 30 of the top professional players under management, as well as a 100-member MLG Players Association, and is focused on discovering and signing the world’s best players.
The next MLG Pro-Circuit competition kicks off at 7:00pm on Friday, June 23 at the Anaheim Convention Center. The championship rounds will be held on Sunday, June 25. Pre-registration is available, and encouraged, at www.mlgpro.com.
About MLG (Major League Gaming)
MLG is the first professional video game league. By raising video game competition to the level of professional sport, the company is creating a sports media business that provides players, developers, publishers, media partners, and advertisers a unique connection to the video game lifestyle enjoyed by 168 million Americans. With the support of major sponsors, MLG operates a pro tour that in 2006 will make 7 stops in major cities across the U.S., exclusively featuring the best gamers in the world. We produce a variety of online and broadcast-quality programming that showcases MLG’s pros and this exciting new sports entertainment phenomenon. More information can be found at www.mlgpro.com.
MLG Announcement Q&A
Q: What are you announcing today?
A: We’ve signed Team Final Boss to a $1,000,000, three-year contract and Tsquared to a $250,000, three-year individual contract.
Q: How and why did you pick these players?
A: Walshy, The Ogres, Saiyan, and Tsquared represent the cream of the crop of our MLG talent today. They’re amazing competitors, they have great personalities that bring positive attention to our league, and they’re generally great guys. From the very beginning, we’ve been focused on building a world-class professional league that brings what we love to do–play video games competitively–to a mainstream audience. These five professionals embody everything that we want MLG to be and in order to take our league to the next level, we wanted to reward not only these five players, but inspire everyone else out there that wants to play on the MLG stage.
Q: How does this benefit all of the other MLG players?
A: We’ve created the world’s first professional video game league and are investing in a global sports media business. At the heart of that endeavor is finding and promoting the very best professional gamers in the world. These deals prove to everyone in our community and everyone who aspires to do what we do, that you can succeed in a big way with MLG. We will continue to reward great players with serious money and global recognition.
Q: Will you be entering into any other contracts this year?
A: We’re not going to make predictions or promises about how many contracts we’re going to make. We’ll continue to reward the best and the brightest in the MLG community when it’s appropriate.
Q: How will those decisions be made?
A: Stars in any sport are pretty easy to pick out. They’re the ones that have superior skill and are great ambassadors to the fans and broader community. We have many, many stars that are currently signed to MLG and are always looking to add more to our roster. We’ll continue to make announcements with this level of player contract in the coming months.
Q: What are the financial details of these deals?
A: These are three-year deals that comprise both an annual salary and guaranteed sponsorship money for each of the players. The players will be asked to perform various promotional and other activities in support of MLG for their annual salary.