Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson

Nick "Lesona" Johnson is an esports journalist with a focus on CS:GO and the OWL. His interest for esports started with CS:S and grew into a career as both an esports writer and an avid fan, giving him a unique perspective on both the casual and professional scenes. Twitter: @Lesona_

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Activision Blizzard Announces First Five Call of Duty Franchise Teams

Call of Duty Esports
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Activision/Blizzard, the publisher of Call of Duty, announced the first five franchised teams for the Call of Duty World League this afternoon in their Q1 2019 Earnings Call.


Activision/Blizzard officially announced the first franchised teams for Call of Duty World League (CWL)  today on their 2019 Q1 earnings call. The move was previously mentioned during their Q4 earnings call on February 12th of this year.

The earnings call confirmed that Activision has already sold five spots for CWL Franchises:

  • Atlanta
  • Dallas
  • New York
  • Toronto
  • Paris

The announcement comes just days after the first Overwatch League Dallas Homestand. The Dallas Fuel sold out all 4,500 seats in the Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas for that event. Impressions of the Homestand, including ESTNN’s, were extremely positive. Additionally, CWL London, a major Call of Duty tournament, starts tomorrow, May 3rd.

ESPN first reported back in March that Call of Duty franchise spots would cost around $25M USD apiece.

While today’s call has not confirmed these estimates, Scott “Sir Scoots” Smith, an esports scene veteran, implied that he had seen the CWL Pitch Deck and the financial forecasts contained therein. In a tweet earlier this week, Smith reported that he had heard that the initial buy-in for a CWL franchise was closer to $40M USD. Original Overwatch League franchises, on the other hand, cost around $20 million, while OWL expansion team slots cost anywhere between $30M and $60M.

Franchising is the new normal for Activision IPs

The same March ESPN report also mentioned that the Activision Blizzard Esports League had met with existing Overwatch and Call of Duty team ownership to discuss acquiring franchises. In addition to those teams, also keep close watch on organizations that already own Overwatch League spots. Activision’s 2017 Public Report revealed that current Overwatch team owners are “granted a first right of negotiation for slots in the Call of Duty World League.”

With Activision/Blizzard’s reveal, expect teams active in the CWL to announce Call of Duty franchises in the near future.

ESTNN will update this article with more information as it arrives.


Image VIA: CWL

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