In a rather interesting financial move, Blizzard Entertainment has purchased IGN Pro League from the media group, along with all of IPL's technology and assets. With the league now under its ownership, Blizzard has plans to set up a new team based out of San Francisco comprised of some IPL staff, with the intent of "creating high-quality web and mobile content in support of Blizzard games."
Some reports have stated that 23 IPL employees have made the switch, including broadcaster Kevin Knocke and general manager David Ting.
Regarding the acquisition, Blizzard's executive VP of publishing Itzik Ben-Bassat remarked:
“This new team will help us to further develop the rich media experiences that extend the fun and engagement of our games online. This is a team of passionate gamers with a proven track record, and we’re looking forward to now leveraging their expertise and technology to support a variety of online efforts.”
Cutting back does seem to be the trend for IGN lately. Back in February, IGN parent Ziff Davis closed down 1UP, UGO, and GameSpy to focus entirely on IGN and the AskMen.com website. Then a few weeks after, IGN canceled IPL 6, an eSports tournament originally set to take place in Las Vegas in March.
Peer Schneider, VP of IGN, stated the company's reasoning behind selling IPL to Blizzard, noting the "evolution" of the eSports scene.
“With the continuing evolution of the eSports space and the renewed focus on our core media brand, we made the decision to sell the IGN Pro League technology and assets and become agnostic in our competitive gaming coverage. Following Blizzard’s acquisition of IPL assets, IGN will partner with multiple organizations and cover their events.”
Blizzard has already commented that this move has nothing to do with continuing IPL, but rather pursuing the company's own initiatives.