Skift Take

Perhaps a telling sign about the permanence of the pandemic's impact on live events. A year after Activision's Blizzard events screeched to a halt, executives announced it was laying off 50 workers assigned to esports events.

Activision Blizzard Inc. unit Blizzard has fired about 50 workers engaged in running live events, a company spokesman said on Tuesday, as the COVID-19 pandemic clamped down on gatherings.

Video game developers and entertainment firms typically host numerous live events every year that attract thousands. Over the last year, however, the health crisis has forced them to cancel, postpone or host them virtually, causing their advertising and on-premise revenue to take a knock.

“The esports team, much like traditional sports, entertainment, and broadcasting industries, has had to adapt its business due to the impact the pandemic has had on live events,” Activision said.

Meanwhile, Activision’s video game business, whose key franchises include online role-playing game “World of Warcraft” and combat game “Overwatch,” has been buoyed by stuck-at-home people seeking entertainment. The company said in February it planned to hire more game developers this year.

The company’s e-sports division will look to get back to live events to some extent when possible, Tony Petitti, president of sports and entertainment at Activision Blizzard, told the Sports Business Journal on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

This article was from Reuters and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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Tags: coronavirus, events

Photo credit: Activision's Blizzard unit has laid off 50 employees working in live events as the pandemic has caused the company to rethink the future of that business. Tarcil Tarcil / Flickr

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