CALL OF DUTY is joining Overwatch World League (OWL) and League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) in exploring a traditional sports-style franchise model for an esports league.
Just as they have with OWL, Activision Blizzard are franchising the Call of Duty league for 2020, with the league set to run from January to July. As of writing, it is understood they have sold 9 franchise spots (Dallas, Minnesota, Atlanta, New York, Toronto, Paris, Florida, and two in Los Angeles). Stan Kroenke's Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, who also own Premier League club Arsenal, and UK-based Misfits Gaming have invested in franchises in Los Angeles and Florida respectively.
It has been reported that each franchise spot has been sold for $25m, with the league aiming to attract 28 city-based teams. Dexerto.com claim to have seen leaked copies of the decks being sent to potential investors, in which Activison Blizzard expect franchises to be worth over $45m in ten years and that they expect media rights to be worth approximately $20m in year one.
The media rights will be key to revenues of the league if the example of the other franchised leagues is seen as a barometer. For example, the Activision Blizzard decks also revealed OWL made more than three times its projected revenue for season one of $25m. They claim OWL generated $82m in its first season with over half of that figure coming from a two-year exclusive online broadcasting rights deal with Twitch worth $90m.
Dexerto.com revealed a source told them the details on the leaked documents were subject to change before an official announcement. This was backed up by an Activision Blizzard spokesperson, who told Dexerto.com: "There are factual inaccuracies in this reporting. Further information on the future of Call of Duty esports is forthcoming and we look forward to sharing it with the community soon."
While there has, as yet, been no announcement on any prospective media rights deal for the Call of Duty League, Konvoy Ventures have estimated the value of the contract to be around $24m per year, using the OWL deal as a benchmark and hours watched and average viewer metrics to come up with a comparative figure.