Activision Blizzard confirms Call of Duty franchised league

13 February 2019


Following in the footsteps of the Overwatch League, Activision Blizzard has confirmed plans to launch a city-based franchised league for its popular FPS series Call of Duty.

The revelation was made during the company’s Q4 earnings call but it has been a horribly-kept secret for quite some time now. What wasn’t detailed, however, was when the franchising system would be implemented.

Call of Duty World League Franchising
Photo credit: Call of Duty World League

Activision Blizzard operates the Call of Duty World League, a professional league that is currently in its fourth year. The 2019 season of the competition reached record heights in terms of prize pool, topping off at a healthy $6 million (£4,652,280).

Kicking off last year, the Overwatch League is a city-based competition that started with 12 franchise partners competing in a central location: the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles. Following the conclusion of its inaugural season, Activision Blizzard welcomed eight expansion franchises at reported costs varying from $30-60 million (£23.3-46.5 million) per spot.

In June last year, it was reported by ESPN that owners of Overwatch League franchises would have the first right of negotiations when it comes to having a Call of duty franchise. Activision Blizzard is contractually obligated to approach said owners when franchising is being implemented.

This news came at the same time as the company’s announcement regarding the cut of 8% of its workforce. Per estimates, this move will result in over 750 employees being laid off.

Esports Insider says: Call of Duty, more than most other esports, has grown to rely on a number of organisations when it comes to viewership. Call of Duty has grown with brands such as OpTic Gaming and FaZe Clan and there’s typically a noticeable boost in attention when they compete on-stream. This presents a problem for Activision Blizzard if it plans to follow suit with the city-based naming conventions it implemented with the Overwatch League. We’re intrigued to see how this plays out in the near future.

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