As previously leaked by OpTic Gaming in their Los Angeles franchise slot announcement, the CWL Pro League will be renamed the Call of Duty League in 2020. The league that will be known as the CDL has seven franchised teams currently revealed for the new season. Exact details for how the CDL will work haven’t been released yet, but the new commissioner has been announced. Former NFL executive Johanna Faries will become the CDL’s first Call of Duty Esports Commissioner.
Currently, organizations for Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New York, Paris, and Toronto have been revealed. Faries will transition to this new role from her previous position as Head of Product with Call of Duty Esports. In the same week of the announcement, Faries has been named to Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40 and Adweek’s 30 Most Powerful Women in Sports.
“Our ambition is quite large, but it’s also what gets us up every day feeling so energized by the potential scale of what Call of Duty esports can deliver,” said Johanna Faries in a press release from Activision Entertainment. “It’s a rush that can feel scary at times, but that thrill is typically where greatness can happen. I feel honored to be a part of it.” She goes on to talk about how Activision Blizzard is working together with the Call of Duty franchise team and studio partners to “innovate around the competitive experience.”
With Call of Duty going into franchising, organizations can no longer compete just because they win a certain qualifier match or online play. Instead, the franchise model has esports organizations buying a franchise slot for USD $25 million.
Franchising also comes with a guideline of rules in terms of minimum salaries, benefits, and training/housing areas. This is good news for players in the Call of Duty space with some organizations having made attempts to avoid paying players, among other issues. Teams will be guaranteed a spot and also gain increased sponsorships because of the viewership and content being produced.
However, this move cuts a lot of the smaller organizations who can’t find the funding to go through franchising. The “professional amateur” scene will also most likely be axed. This is due to amateur players having no chance at competing and advancing into the professional scene, other than being signed by an organization. Call of Duty could potentially create something like Overwatch Contenders or League of Legends‘ Academy system though.
What do you think about next year’s Call of Duty league? What team or city do you plan on rooting for?
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