Things are going well for the upcoming Call of Duty League (CDL), as Activision Blizzard just announced that the eight franchise slot has been sold to a yet unnamed team. The company behind the Overwatch League has been reported as asking $25M USD per expansion fee for the Call of Duty League.
Activision Blizzard announced in their Q2 earning meeting with investors that the eight slot for the 2020 Call of Duty League has been sold. Following a similar format to the OWL, with participating teams based in a major city around the globe, the CDL will launch next year with 16 teams playing in a home/away format.
The seven confirmed city-based teams will represent Toronto, Paris, New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and Minnesota. Atlanta Esports Ventures (Atlanta), Envy Gaming (Dallas), and OverActive Media (Toronto) are also team owners in the Overwatch League.
“We’re thrilled that the future of Call of Duty esports will bring more competitive events to fans in cities around the globe. With seven teams already signed on, we anticipate a robust slate of events held in all home markets.”
said the newly appointed Call of Duty Esports Commissioner Johanna Faries.
Was there a need for a new Call of Duty League?
Activision Blizzard was looking at a revamp of the current Call of Duty World League for some time we reckon. With lessons learned from OWL, a move to similar, money-making machine was somewhat to be expected. They are currently the only name in esports committed to this city-targeted format, somewhat similar to traditional sports. CSGO, League of Legends and Dota 2 although are open to franchises never tried to tie their teams to a particular city or even continent.
On top of that, the CWL registered increased viewership over the past year with the average minute viewing seeing “around 50% growth YoY,” as Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard president and chief operating officer told investors in the same call.
The surprise in the new CDL announcement is not that it’s moving to a franchise, city-based format but the fact that the new tournament will start right from the first day with home / away matches. The OWL will also switch to this format next year, but only after mainly playing at Activision’s California studio the past two years.
Here’s what Dennis Durkin, chief financial officer and president of Activision Blizzard said during the earnings call Q&A portion about the new home / away format:
“We think [the home/away format] will be a big driver of not only local fan interest in many of our markets but also broader viewership as well. We did see some early indicators of solid progress on that this quarter with the Dallas and Atlanta homestands that brought thousands of spectators to the home arenas in those respective areas.”
The current CWL is currently underway, with the 2019 Call of Duty World League Championship, the event’s grand final taking place between August 14-18 in Los Angeles, California. The event will feature 32 teams from around the world competing for a $2,000,000 total prize pool.