Back in February, Activision Blizzard announced plans for a city-based Call of Duty World League, which will replicate the format currently used by the Overwatch World League. Companies will buy franchises in different cities around the world.
The current plan is that the Call of Duty esports league will begin at some point next year. Beforehand though, Activision Blizzard needs to populate the league with teams. This week, a further two were announced, adding to the five already declared. This brings the total number to seven.
The latest teams will be based in Los Angeles and Minnesota. The ranks previously included teams in:
- New York
Many expected the LA team. It’s also unsurprising that Immortals Gaming Club, which owns OpTic Gaming, Immortals, and Los Angeles Valiant, will run the new Call of Duty team.
The news that Minnesota will also get its own esports team was more intriguing. It’s a first for Wise Ventures, an investment company started by the current owners of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.
In the coming months, a number of other franchises, each reportedly stumping up an initial $25 million fee to join, will be announced.
Furthermore, while the Overwatch League started with all its games being played in Los Angeles, the Call of Duty league should start with a home and away system.
Will my city have a Call of Duty franchise?
The question of which cities will decide to operate a franchise is a tough one. Firstly, the people and ownership groups seeking $25 million to invest want to know their host city will support the franchise.
There are inherent risks with this. Activision Blizzard has stated those teams invested in the Overwatch League are unlikely to see any returns on their investments for at least the first three years. This long-term project may not appeal to all investors.
Of course, Activision Blizzard may tweak the operating rules for the Call of Duty League based on their experiences with Overwatch.
I do feel the focused popularity of Call of Duty in Europe and North America may deter Asian cities and owners. That would stand in contrast to Overwatch.
I think the countries most likely to see teams will be the UK, most likely based in London or Birmingham, and then Germany, which will likely be based in Berlin or Munich. Scandinavian countries could also be part of the process with Sweden and Denmark developing strong esports strategies.
Then, in America, look out for Miami, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Houston, and Seattle. In Canada, perhaps Vancouver and Montreal could sign up.
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