Given the success of the Overwatch World League, it seemed only a matter of time before Blizzard decided to use the same franchise model to organize another big global esports tournament. That day is here. Well, almost. In 2020, a new Call of Duty league will following the model.
If you fancy entering a team in the tournament, then, it’s going to set you back a cool $25 million, according to ESPN.
Currently, the Call of Duty World League Pro League is contested at the MLG Arena in Columbus, Ohio, and teams can be promoted and relegated to and from the top divisions. However, with the advent of this new franchise model in 2020, that would change.
If this all sounds familiar, like we said, the Overwatch World League is clearly the template.
In this past week, executives from Activision Blizzard have been involved in a series of meetings with prospective franchise owners in the new Call of Duty league. This includes teams that are already part of the existing league setup, as well as owners of teams in the current Overwatch League who may seek to expand their franchise into this esport.
Activision has asked the potential buyers for a “non-binding indication of interest” within the next fortnight. The benefits to the team owners for doing so would be having first rights to negotiate the franchise for their home markets. Unlike the Overwatch World League, the Call of Duty tournament is expected to begin with each of the teams based in the city they represent.
This change in direction for the Call of Duty World League Pro League has been facilitated by the fact that Activision Blizzard acquired the organizers of the tournament, Major League Gaming, in 2016 for a reported buyout fee of $46 million. An internal restructure at the company led to Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues, the part of the company with responsibility for running esports tournaments across all Activision Blizzard games.
The news comes hot on the heels of a busy and controversial February for Activision Blizzard. In addition to announcing the prospective new league, it will look to make 800 redundancies from the company, chiefly from within its esports division.
Will Snoop Dogg’s Gangsta Gaming League be dope?
Last week, rapper, producer, actor, and now esports tournament organizer Snoop Dogg saw his Gangsta Gaming League host its inaugural event. It was a Madden 19 tournament featuring eight of Snoop’s gaming buddy’s battling over an $11,000 prize pool.
In a tongue-in-cheek message to fans and players, the league has stated that it “will most definitely allow the use of cannabis.” Given the legal status of the drug in certain states across the US, this is not as controversial a statement as it would have been a few years ago. That said, being truly high is no way to win a competitive esports event.
As yet, Snoop hasn’t announced what the next tournament will be, or indeed what esports will feature in the Gangsta Gaming League. But one thing is sure: it promises to be very different than standard esports settings.
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