The pact, which will result in seven hour-long episodes on the USA Network this holiday season, is only the latest that Major League Gaming has inked. It also announced Monday that it has a new multiyear contract with Boost Mobile, under which that company's mobile phones will feature content.
For three years, Major League Gaming has been trying to build its credibility as a full-fledged league--one it hopes will soon rival the pro poker and auto racing circuits.
"We spent about three years building what is the only professional video gaming league in the country," said Matthew Bromberg, president and COO of Major League Gaming. "We believe that pro-gaming-wise, this will be the next World Poker Tour, the next Nascar and the next action-sports movements...For us, these deals really signify that pro gaming is emerging into the mass market."
Bromberg explained that the MLG is following a well-trod model for forming a new pro league: Build a credible governing body, sign the best players and then strike deals with major sponsors.
"That's what helps the league grow and feeds the machine," Bromberg said. "If you have those pieces, then you can have a major sport."
MLG operates a seven-city pro circuit, which begins next week in New York and ends with a championship in Las Vegas in November, Bromberg said.
More than 1,500 players will compete for the championship in two games: "Halo 2" and "Super Smash Bros. Melee World."