American games publisher Wizards of the Coast has announced the signing of an alliance with giant toy manufacturer Hasbro Incorporated that is to see the pair establish an eSports program for the former’s iconic Magic: The Gathering brand.

Multi-million prize pool:

The Washington firm used an official Thursday press release to detail that the coming eSports campaign has been designed to attract fans of its Magic: The Gathering card game and is to feature a $10 million combined prize pool spread across the brand’s tabletop and digital offerings.

Magic Pro League formation:

Renton-headquartered Wizards of the Coast stated that the partnership is to also involve the establishment of the Magic Pro League, which is to comprise 32 of the world’s best Magic: The Gathering competitors each being provided with play and streaming contracts worth up to $75,000. It declared that these newly-professional aficionados will subsequently be required to compete via the Magic: The Gathering Arena online version of its game in a new series of weekly match-ups christened the Mythic Championships.

Commitment to eSports:

Chris Cocks, President for Wizards of the Coast, explained that Magic: The Gathering has so far amassed in excess of 35 million players in over 70 nations and that his firm’s partnership with Hasbro Incorporated is destined to present these aficionados with an ‘open platform’ to compete.

Cocks’ statement read…

“Today is an extremely important day for Magic: The Gathering as we announce our commitment to eSports and our Magic: The Gathering players by evolving our tournament structure to include a $10 million prize pool. We are fully embracing eSports and affirming Magic: The Gathering as a leader in the collectible card game category while providing lucrative opportunities for pros, players, sponsors and eSports partners.”

March launch:

Cocks described the Mythic Championships as ‘the new flagship competition for Magic: The Gathering Arena eSports and tabletop Magic: The Gathering competitive play’ before proclaiming that the league is to be officially launched next year via a $1 million invitational event to be staged as part of late-March’s PAX East 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Reaching ‘new heights’:

For her part, Elaine Chase, eSports Vice-President for Wizards of the Coast, asserted that the coming Magic: The Gathering eSports program has been built on 25 years of experience and will allow her firm to support the game while boosting its investment in the brand’s tabletop offering.

Chase’s statement read…

“Our investment in eSports will catapult the game to new heights while providing support to the players by giving them the platform to build their brand and bring Magic: The Gathering to a broader audience.”