Zelaznik swaps eSports for kickboxing as new Glory chief
Glory Sports International, which owns and organises Glory, the kickboxing league, has appointed Marshall Zelaznik, formerly of Major League Gaming, the eSports division of the California-based video game developer Activision Blizzard, as its new chief executive.
Zelaznik only joined MLG last February as global head of business development, following a decade at mixed martial arts' Ultimate Fighting Championship, eventually assuming the role of chief content officer.
At GSI, he succeeds Jon Franklin, who had been in the post since 2014 but has now taken on the role of chief development officer.
GSI, a joint venture involving Total Sports Asia, the sports marketing agency, said Franklin will focus efforts on growth in the Americas to "support Zelaznik’s global efforts."
Zelaznik said: "I have been very fortunate to be able to work in the combat sports space for many years and to be given this chance to work with Glory to help lead its future, is very humbling. Glory has done everything right to get to this point and I will ensure that my effort is singularly focused on continuing to develop Glory as a place where fighters remain proud to compete. Glory will be committed to building a platform for our athletes to showcase their incredible talent for the world."
Glory chairman and co-founder Pierre Andurand added: "There is no doubt Marshall has the experience and vision to take Glory to the next level as a global sports league."
In less than a year at MLG, he was part of the team that launched the Overwatch League, the franchise-based global esports league, and helped land a $90-million rights deal with Twitch, the live-streaming video portal owned by Amazon. Overwatch officially launched this month.
At UFC, his role encompassed: content distribution, including the launch of OTT subscription platform UFC Fight Pass; international development, overseeing the launch and management of offices in Toronto, Sao Paolo, Beijing, Singapore and London; and live events, with expansion into the likes of the UK, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Australia,, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea and Japan.