Founding Member Adam Apicella Departs MLG
Adam Apicella, one of the original founders of Major League Gaming, has left the company after 15 years. Apicella was one of the original pioneers in making Call of Duty an esport, and has left his position just ahead of the league’s franchising.
When the Call of Duty League started in 2016, it was an open circuit with any team eligible to compete. With Activision-Blizzard selling spots at $25 million this year, teams will have to have some serious financial backers to be able to compete. Activision-Blizzard is seemingly trying to follow the same format as their already successful Overwatch League, but without those original trailblazers like Apicella, it probably wouldn’t have reached this point.
Apicella announced on Twitter that he would be leaving the organization, but added that he doesn’t plan to retire from esports completely. Apicella has been working at MLG since long before it was acquired by Activision-Blizzard in early 2016, as part of the company’s goal to legitimize esports and build an esports-focused television network.
The MLG Pro Circuit includes Mortal Kombat, Soul Caliber, Smash Bros, Starcraft II, League of Legends, and more. They were responsible for getting Halo 2 broadcast on ESPN in 2006 and 2007, and have held many official video game tournaments since their inception. They also started the MLG Pro League, a Call of Duty league that ran for six seasons in 2014-2015. It’s no exaggeration to say that esports would not have the same recognition or financial backing it does today without the work done by Apicella and MLG as a whole.
Apicella told fans on Twitter that he’d be “thrilled to help in any way” and that “[his] line is always open,” so it’s possible he’s planning to remain involved in the Call of Duty League in one way or another. He’d likely make a great caster or talent scout.
The transition to the franchised model hasn’t been flawless. Popular CoD mainstay 100 Thieves announced they would not be participating in the league due to the buy-in price and other costs associated with building a franchised team. Still, the precedent set by both the Call of Duty League and Overwatch League makes us excited for things to come.
We hope that Apicella finds success in his future endeavors and doesn’t stray too far from the competitive Call of Duty scene.