TV-friendly gaming league won't make it to next level

Boss company pulls plug on WSVG

The World Series of Video Games, a league that aired on numerous TV networks in recent years, most recently CBS, was abruptly closed down Thursday by its parent company, Games Media Properties.

"The continuing challenges of securing adequate revenues to sustain the production of the WSVG's large-scale events and television programming, in a very crowded field of competitive gaming leagues, has prompted us to re-evaluate our direction as an organization," organizers said on the WSVG Web site.

WSVG had staged tournaments this year in Dallas and Louisville, Ky., with the latter presented by CBS Sports as a one-hour time buy July 29. Scheduled WSVG events in Los Angeles, London and Sweden have been canceled.

A source said that the cost of running a WSVG season — including prize money that reached $30,000 for some winners — was in the millions, adding that the ad revenue simply didn't support it.

"The television (business) was looking pretty good and performing fairly well," the source said. "But right now there are a number of players in this space of competitive gaming because there are low barriers to entry. And advertisers for the most part are a little bit confused and are taking their time before placing their bets."

With Intel as its anchor sponsor, WSVG had staged events for the past 18 months and aired shows last year on MTV and CSTV as well as CBS.

This year, organizers sought to accelerate the acceptance of gaming as a viable spectator sport by focusing on mainstream games like "Guitar Hero."

With the demise of WSVG, Games Media Properties said its focus will shift to growing its online advertising network of Web sites, which reach 7 million users each month.