Esports journalist and former host Richard Lewis has said during a recent livestream, that the Call of Duty World League is set to be franchised, with spots having already been offered to Overwatch League (OWL) teams.
During a live stream of the ongoing FACEIT CS:GO London Major, Richard Lewis was discussing with guests Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League, an already franchised league, with each organization tied to a city.
Lewis says that when Blizzard were organizing the OWL, they offered franchise spots in a Call of Duty league, as extra incentive for investors.
He goes on to say that the potential investors in the Overwatch League wanted assurances that if and when a Call of Duty franchised league began, they would retain their city link.
“[Activision] were offering – back when they were struggling to get VC groups to invest in the Overwatch Leagues – they were offering franchises in a Call of Duty league that didn’t even exist yet as extra leverage.
That was one of the big stickling points for a lot of these [investors]. They were, for example: ‘We’re the LA team, but we’re not the LA team for Call of Duty? Just for Overwatch? We want to be the LA team for all Blizzard IP. If you start running a sick Hearthstone league, our player is the LA player.’
And Activision Blizzard were like: ‘Well no, because it’s going to limit how many people are going to come in.’ So there was a lot of back and forth. And in the end, the people that they did want to invest – i.e. not some of the third rate esports teams, […] they basically said to the bigger ones, ‘when we do the franchising in this Call of Duty league, we will give you the team that fits into your region as well.”
Finally, he also says that while the Overwatch League investors targeted by Activision were mainly mainstream sports consortiums, the investment plans for a Call of Duty league involve targeting ‘entertainment consortiums’.
Lewis suggests that consortiums, like the one ran by boxer, Floyd Mayweather, could be the type to invest.
“What they want to do for the Call of Duty league, they’ve said they’re looking at the ‘entertainment consortiums. It’s interesting actually, there’s a lot of sports stars that are trying to get in, I heard Floyd Mayweathers got a consortium going around.
But yeh, they want to get entertainers in, and have these groups of entertainers that band together and create these weird little funds and little groups. And they think it will be a great fit for Call of Duty, because there’s a lot of overlap with hip-hop culture.”
Of course none of this information is official, but Lewis is a trusted journalist with years of experience in the esports industry, and through connections has access to certain insider information.
The reveal for the upcoming 2019 CWL season is set to take place on September 19, live from Treyarch studios. While there is little expectation that franchising will be announced for this coming season, there is a possibility that future plans will be revealed as well.