A few months ago MLG announced their seemingly anything-but-popular Pay per view system, meaning that their newly organized Arena events would be without free streams. Although on the public forums the majority seemed to be against the move, which came down to a couple of factors including the prices for the streams, the time they announced the new system, the way they handled their already loyal customers and the abundance of other tournaments, their streams have sold well: up in the tens of thousands of passes per event.
The pay-per-view system paid off, being incredibly profitable due to the low costs of holding the tournaments in the MLG offices and the high amount of passes sold. Yet, even though the experiment was a great success MLG have decided to overhaul their system once again. In a series of tweets Major League Gaming CEO Sundance DiGiovanni announced that the upcoming two Arena's at the least, and perhaps any Arena tournament from this point onwards, will fall under the current MLG 'freemium' system.
The series of tweets by MLG CEO Sundance DiGiovanni:
feeling good about making Arenas freemium. also feeling good about the drink I just poured.
Yes I meant SC2 as well as LoL. Yes Gold members still have benefits. Yes, I’m having another drink.
Final note - this is possible because we did well with season passes and crushed it with Anaheim. Opened the door to more partner $.
Seemingly the CBS deal combined with the great sales of both season and PPV passes has sorted out MLG. With the new system Arena's will be streamed in just the same way as the championship tournaments have been streamed so far, with a couple of HD free streams as well as some benefits for loyal members who own a season passes or are yearly gold members. What these benefits will be exactly is uncertain, but previous MLG tournaments point to extra streams, no commercials and multiple lay-out options.
With other tournaments offering, to some extent, free streams throughout the year (think DreamHack, IPL, NASL etcetera), this move means MLG once again retain their firm grip over the foreign tournament scene. The dates of the two upcoming freemium Arena's, one being StarCraft 2 exclusively, the other League of Legends exclusively, have not been announced yet.