Mike was an early pioneer in esports when, in 2002, he founded Major League Gaming with Sundance DiGiovanni. The company went on to become the largest and most powerful independent esports league in the world, and achieved many of the industry’s important first milestones – including launching the first professional esports league system, securing the first televised series (with NBC Sports), and building and launching the first OTT broadcast platform for premium esports content.
In 2015, Activision Blizzard’s (ATVI) CEO Bobby Kotick turned to Mike to launch the company’s first esports and media division. As Senior Vice President and head of the new division, he galvanized ATVI’s various esports programs into what is now the largest and most successful esports organization in the world. Within four months of launching the division, Mike oversaw the acquisition of MLG, at the time the largest acquisition of an independent esports business. In his role as the leader of ATVI’s new esports division, Mike designed the original blueprint for the company’s new esports league structure, brought to life in the form of the Overwatch League, the world’s first global, franchised esports league. Following the launch of the league, he oversaw commercial operations for all ATVI esports, including the largest sponsorship deals in the history of esports with global partners HP and Intel.
A passionate ambassador for esports, Mike is a frequent keynote speaker at the industry’s most prestigious events and conferences. He is also a highly sought-after advisor for some of the industry’s most critical industry groups and companies including the IAB and Nielsen. Over the past two years, Mike’s efforts have largely focused on developing key industry relationships with brand advertising and media leaders in order to educate and promote investment in the esports industry globally.
Mike is currently chairman and cofounder of Electronic Sports Group (ESG), a global, independent advisory firm focused on the high-growth esports industry. He is also a partner and strategic advisor to the ownership group of the NYXL, the New York Overwatch League franchise.