Heading into the 2021 Call of Duty League season, new rules have been released surrounding teams' roster construction.
There has been some debate around the Call of Duty League contracts during its inaugural season with Doug “Censor” Martin leading the charge during his negotiations with Challengers teams. However, the league has released new rules which will apply for the 2021 season. Here’s what they said in a release.
"As Teams begin to develop their 2021 Season rosters in the coming weeks and months, below is a summary of key roster construction points for existing League Players and aspiring Call of Duty esports players. These Rules may be updated, amended, modified or revoked from time-to-time at the League Office’s discretion. All times listed below are U.S. Pacific Time."
- "September 13, 2020, 11:59 p.m. – 2020 League Year ends. Any 2020 Season Player Contracts that are not extended terminate and such Players become free agents.
- Teams who wish to exercise extension options for a Player must do so by September 6, 2020, 11:59 p.m.
- September 14, 2020, 12:00 a.m. – The new 2021 League Year begins. From this time, free agents may enter into new Player Contracts with any Team in the League. Teams may begin submitting 2021 Season Player Contracts for League Office review and may also begin submitting Player trades for League Office review. Players who are currently under contract with an existing Team remain subject to the terms of such Player Contract. But they are free to negotiate any amendments with their Team.
- While Teams may discuss roster moves such as trades with other Teams, extensions with their current Players, and free agent signings with Players at any time, Teams may not enter into any formal agreements or make binding commitments to do so outside the permitted windows.
- Contract negotiation is between the Player and the Team. The League Office will not advise Players or Teams in contract negotiations."
A deeper dive into contracts
- "All Players in the League will receive a minimum annualized base salary of $50,900 USD. Additionally, they must have health care benefits, and retirement benefits. Player salaries may be structured based on the Player’s participation and/or role during the Season (e.g., “Starter”, “Reserve” and “Challengers” salary tiers), provided, each salary tier rate must be no less than the League’s minimum annualized base salary ($50,900 USD). Teams are required to distribute at least 50% of their prize pool earnings to Players directly.
- If a Team elects to terminate a non-guaranteed Player Contract, such Player Contract will be subject to payment of a Buyout Fee to be negotiated between Team and Player. In all cases, if there are at least 30 days remaining in the term, the minimum Buyout Fee would equal 30 days’ salary plus any earned but unpaid bonuses and prize money."
14-day contracts and housing
- "Subject to certain roster requirements, Teams may sign additional Players to 14-Day contracts. Teams may not sign an individual Player to more than two (2) 14-Day contracts during the 2021 Season. If a Player has signed two (2) 14-Day contracts with a single Team, that Team may only sign the Player to a full Season Player Contract for the remainder of the 2021 Season. Upon expiration of a 14-Day contract, a Player is a free agent. Teams do not have an option to extend 14-Day contracts.
- Teams must offer housing to newly signed or acquired Players for at least 90 days following the Player Contract effective date or trade approval, as applicable, if the Player is required to move to the Team’s home market. Any cash stipend in lieu of Player housing offered to a Player must be reflected in the Player Contract. If a Team elects not to provide housing for all of its Players and the Team requires its Players to move to the Team’s home market, the Team must submit a plan to the League Office for approval that demonstrates how the Team will assist its Players in finding suitable housing in the Team’s home market during the 2021 Season. The League does not require that Players live in the cities they represent."
- "Each Player may consent as part of his or her Player Contract to compete in Challengers or other Call of Duty esports competitions (a “Two-Way Player”). The terms relating to such Player’s participation in non-League events will be subject to any terms negotiated in the Player Contract. There is no limit to the number of Players who may be designated as Two-Way Players at any given time. Up to two (2) Two-Way Players may compete together on the same Challengers Team roster in any Challengers match. A Challengers Team may include Two-Way Players belonging to different Teams. After appearing in any Official Game, Two-Way Players are ineligible to compete in any Challengers match for a period of seven (7) calendar days (e.g., if a Two-Way Player competes in an Official Game that occurs on a Saturday, such Player cannot compete in a Challengers match until the following Sunday). Teams must submit written notice to the League Office prior to any Two-Way Player participating in any Challengers match.
- Teams are responsible for coordinating and acquiring any visa paperwork required for Players to compete around the world. The League Office will support Teams and Players in this process as needed."
So, what's actually changed?
To summarize, all teams can begin forming a new roster on September 14. Players are entitled to a minimum salary of $50,900 along with healthcare and retirement benefits. Teams may sign additional players on 14-day contracts depending on League approval. Although, teams may not sign a player to more than two 14-day contracts within the 2021 season. Teams may sign players on a two-way contract. This allows them to compete in the Call of Duty Challengers system as well. However, a player cannot compete in a Challengers match in the 7 days following any appearance in the CDL.