Major League Gaming (MLG) is a firm that TNW has had its eyes fixed on for some time now, as the gaming and tournament powerhouse has made continued bets on professional video gaming that most years past would have dismissed.

However, instead of building a niche business with a few passionate fans, MLG has been a leader in turning gaming, and its requisite competition, into a mass-market business that provides advertisers with access to a key demographic: young, affluent males.

As television advertising comes under fire from various new media forms of entertainment, companies such as MLG are forging ahead in ways that are unignorable by those brands that must reach certain citizen segments.

Now, to the figures: in its 2010 year, MLG had a total of 1.8 million unique viewers of its gaming content. In 2011, that figure jumped to 3.5 million. In 2012, driven by Starcraft 2 and League of Legends, some 11.7 million unique individuals tuned in.

That’s 334% year over year, and some 636% in two years. MLG has been around for 10 years; it has finally reached its stride. What has driven this explosive change? The proliferation of livestreaming-over-the-Internet technology that has grown the category of esports – live gaming via Internet video – to new heights. This has exploded the total viewership for the content that MLG has been laying the groundwork for in the past decade.

MLG has not had the simplest of paths to growth. However, in its past 24 months, the company’s long bets have hit their marks.

Top Image Credit: Blizzard