Activision Blizzard brought geolocation and franchising to the modern esports landscape last year with the Overwatch League. Now Call of Duty will follow in those footsteps, and the first five cities to own teams have been announced.
Activision Blizzard released this news on their Q1 earnings call this morning. The five cities already have existing relationships with Activision Blizzard, as they all own franchises inside the Overwatch League. Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris, and Toronto have decided to further this relationship with the Call of Duty World League.
“In each of the five founding franchises announced today, we are partnering with existing Overwatch League team owners who have first-hand experience of our esports vision, and capabilities and recognize the scale of the opportunity for a global, city-based Call of Duty league. We look forward to announcing more details around these cities and other team sales in the coming months,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard.
A Massive Investment
There aren’t many details on the league yet, but including Paris indicates it will be international in scope immediately. We also know these spots represent a significant investment. Veteran esports personality Scott “SirScoots” Smith indicated that bidding for these franchises was already at $40 Million per spot. ESPN reporter Jacob Wolf stated the cost was significantly less, but no price was confirmed on today’s call. However, according to an ESPN report back in March, Wolf’s sources expected CWL slots would go for $25 Million a piece.
Based on the OWL Dallas event, unless the process is over, a spot in the CWL is going to get even more expensive. Last I heard the bidding was already close to $40mil a city.
— Scott Smith (@SirScoots) April 28, 2019
— Jacob Wolf (@JacobWolf) April 28, 2019
Regardless of which of these men has the price tag correct, it is a massive investment. These organizations are placing significant bets on the future success of franchising and geolocation as major cornerstones in esports’ future.
Chris Overholt is the CEO of Overactive Media, the operating group behind Splyce and the Toronto Defiant, and he was enthusiastic about today’s news and what it represents for his organization. “Overactive Media is building a world-leading, global esports platform that will redefine the future of sports and entertainment. Our expanded partnership with Activision Blizzard and the acquisition of the Toronto Call of Duty franchise signals yet another significant step toward our goal.”
Stay tuned to Daily Esports for future developments and announcements concerning Call of Duty and its World League.