Activision confirms first Call of Duty esports league franchises

OWL team owners from Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris and Toronto secure slots.

by Joe Levy

Activision confirms first Call of Duty esports league franchises

Gaming giant Activision Blizzard has confirmed five new esports teams for its city-based professional league for the Call of Duty title.

Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris and Toronto have all be announced as franchises. Each of the Call of Duty teams will be operated by the same ownership groups behind the respective cities’ Overwatch League franchise, with slots for this new venture being sold for US$25 million apiece, according to ESPN.

Following the major success of the Overwatch League, Activision is using the same blueprint in hopes of success in this alternative title.

In a statement, Activision noted: ‘[These owners] have first-hand experience of our esports strategy and capabilities and recognise the scale of the opportunity for a global Call of Duty league.’

Activision currently operates the Call of Duty World League which has been running since 2015. At this stage, it is unclear when the new league will launch or what will become of the existing competition.

“We’re excited to partner with individuals and organisations who are just as passionate about our vision for the future of Call of Duty esports. Our early momentum for franchise sales has been strong as we welcome our first five partners,” added Pete Vlastelica, president of Activision’s esports division.

Overwatch League has expanded exponentially since its launch. The division now holds franchises in China, North America, Europe and South Korea.

In its second season, the league has seen its viewership hours rise by over 30 per cent compared to its inaugural season.