Activision Blizzard is pushing deeper into the world of e-sports.

The Santa Monica company today launched a division dedicated to promoting and supporting e-sports leagues for its video games, including World of Warcraft, Hearthstone and Call of Duty.

The division will be led in part by Steve Bornstein, the former chief executive of ESPN and NFL Network, who will be the division’s chairman. Major League Gaming co-founder Mike Sepso will serve as senior vice president.

“I believe e-sports will rival the biggest traditional sports leagues in terms of future opportunities, and between advertising, ticket sales, licensing, sponsorships and merchandising, there are tremendous growth areas for this nascent industry,” Bornstein said in a statement.

Activision has been ramping up its participation in e-sports lately. In April, the company launched Heroes of the Dorm, a collegiate e-sports tournament televised on ESPN2. Last month, it launched Call of Duty World league, a professional and amateur e-sports tournament with $3 million in prize money.

Technology reporter Garrett Reim can be reached at greim@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @garrettreim for the latest in L.A. tech news.

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