According to multiple sources, Activision Blizzard has started to gauge the market for franchising spots in Call of Duty. This new league will replace the current CWL with a city-based structure, similar to Overwatch. The price tag for each spot in this newly formed league is reportedly $25 million.
This past week, Activision held meetings with potential investors who are looking to secure their place. It is unclear how many teams and cities will appear in the inaugural season, but a good estimate is around 12. Unlike the current CWL, it’s likely Activision will accept investments from teams all over the globe. Countries like China, Japan, and Canada have been largely absent from CoD in the past.
With these potential investors, they are expected to put forth a non-binding indication of interest within two weeks. It’s clear Activision wants this process to happen quickly to possibly be ready for the start of 2020. It is presumed that the new Call of Duty league will sync up with the Overwatch League in terms of cities and owners. According to ESPN, OWL owners will have first crack at the new spots.
Assuming this announcement rings true, can Activision take on another franchised league? The Overwatch League saw massive success in its inaugural season but dropped off in viewership the second season. Along with this, the company laid off nearly 800 employees a month ago across all departments and studios. Franchising seems to be the future of esports, but Activision could struggle with two separate leagues under its control. It’s no secret that Activision has grappled with these kinds of issues before.
The success of this new Call of Duty league will largely stem from the investors it attracts. The OWL garnered investments from big-time sports owners and multi-media conglomerates, which helped its popularity. Overwatch was also a hugely popular game on its own even before the league started. Call of Duty, on the other hand, has seen some mediocrity over the past few years with titles like WWII. Activision clearly believes Call of Duty is trending upwards though, setting the price per spot at $25 million. This is $5 million more than the original OWL spots sold for.
While the current model of the CWL is fine on its own, it will be interesting to see how much Activision decides to change. Will it follow the OWL’s lead and change organization names to city names? Will major tournaments like CWL Fort Worth take a backseat to the newly formed league? The Call of Duty community largely raised these questions in the past. A vocal yet passionate bunch, the community will soon receive answers to their questions. For now, the attention turns to CWL Fort Worth, which takes place this weekend.
Stay tuned to Daily Esports for future Call of Duty news and coverage.[Source]
Joey Carr is a University of North Georgia Journalism graduate. He has 4+ years experience covering Esports and traditional sporting events, including Dreamhack Atlanta, Call of Duty Championships 2017, and Super Bowl 53.