Canadian gamers can ‘go pro’ in sponsor-packed league

Canada now has a professional gaming circuit with sponsors in broadcast, online media and retail. Get ready to play with the big leagues.

Toronto-based Insight Sports is bringing Major League Gaming (MLG) to Canada ( with plans to back the professional gaming circuit with broadcast support north of the border and opportunities for publishers, media partners and advertisers.

Sponsors include Xbox Canada (console of choice for the league), Zellers (as a retail partner for gaming products) and Yahoo! Canada, which will play an integral part in MLG’s communication strategies through hosting content, contests and promotions.

Insight’s own sports net, The Score, will be the official multiplatform broadcast home of MLG content, including the MGL US 2006 and 2007 seasons, as well as the first MLG Canadian Open, which hits Toronto in November. Rogers-owned tech news channel G4techTV will also devote airtime to the gaming league. Detailed broadcast skeds will be announced in the coming weeks.

Xbox Canada head of marketing Jason Anderson says elevating video game competition to the level of professional sport will enable top sponsors to connect with the culture. Anderson says giving gamers the chance to ‘turn pro’ will energize and expand the industry. ‘Video games are alongside movies and music in the way Canadians think about entertainment,’ he says. ‘The buzz and hype that surround a highly anticipated video game rivals that of any summer blockbuster movie.’