Activision is reportedly working towards a Call of Duty esports league with a similar format to Blizzard’s Overwatch League. Sources speaking to ESPN said that the sales process for a franchised league with city-based teams has begun, and spots are apparently going for $25 million (£18.9 million).
Sales meetings with prospective buyers have apparently begun taking place in the past week, and are said to include esports organisations which already host CoD esports teams, such as Faze Clan, as well as ownership groups attached to the Overwatch League, who would have first dibs on their home city slots if they chose to participate in the new competition.
At the moment, Activision is only asking for a non-binding indication of interest, but it’s notable that there’s been something of a price hike attached to the new competition. Spots in the inaugural season of the Overwatch League cost $20 million (£15.1 million), meaning a new Call of Duty League would be 25% more expensive than its older brother from the very start (although it’s also worth pointing out that OWL spots are now said to have increased to as much as $60 million).
ESPN has previously reported that the new Call of Duty League is expected to start in 2020, following a significant revamp of the current competition format, the Call of Duty World League. That tournament allows for relegations, but a franchise spot under the new arrangement would ensure a continued place in the tournament.
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The Overwatch League has proved to be quite the success story for Blizzard, but I’ll be interested to see whether Call of Duty can attract the same kind of attention. A new series title to adapt to every year likely brings a significant logistical problem to the table, but I’m not sure that CoD has the same mass esports appeal that Overwatch offers.