Activision Announces New City-Based Call of Duty Esports League; 5 Teams Confirmed

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Activision Blizzard has just announced plans to form a new Call of Duty Esports League inspired by the success of their Overwatch League.  More within…

For the last several years, if you wanted to watch competitive Call of Duty esports, it was the Call of Duty World League that you turned to.  The stellar minds behind this league, helped produce memorable, larger-than-life content.  However, the league was entirely team-based, with no real affiliation to any one city.  If you’ve ever attended an event live, or streamed it online, you’ll know that this hasn’t been a major problem, as fans of Optic Gaming, Faze Clan, EUnited, and any other team with a massive following, often filled up venues to cheer on their team of choice.

Meanwhile, not too long ago, Activision Blizzard debuted a new style of esports, with Overwatch League.  It took off at an unprecedented rate, in part due to the overwhelming popularity of Overwatch and because it was city-based.  The parent company clearly took notice because, Activision Blizzard announced during their latest earnings call the decision to create yet another Call of Duty Esports League but, instead of it involving several individual teams, it’s taking a page from the Overwatch League book by being city-based.

Here are what Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard and Pete Vlastelica, President and CEO at Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues had to say about this reveal.

Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard – “The upcoming launch of our new Call of Duty esports league reaffirms our leadership role in the development of professional esports. We have already sold Call of Duty teams in Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris and Toronto to existing Overwatch League team owners, and we will announce additional owners and markets later this year. Our owners value our professional, global city-based model, the success we have had with broadcast partners, sponsors and licensees, and the passion with which our players have responded to our events.”

Pete Vlastelica, President and CEO at Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues: “Call of Duty is a game that embodies team work and dedication and Call of Duty esports is a celebration of those pillars. We’re building this league for fans across esports, traditional sports and gaming alike – and we’re excited to partner with individuals and organizations 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.” 

As you can see from Mr. Kotick’s quote, included with this announcement were the 5 teams confirmed to be represented in this new Call of Duty Esports League.  Coincidentally, those 5 teams are owned by Overwatch League owners.  Here are the teams, and quotes from the owners about their excitement of being the team to represent their city in Call of Duty:

  • Atlanta, GA – Atlanta Esports Ventures, a joint venture owned by Cox Enterprises and Province, Inc. dedicated to bringing esports entertainment to the city of Atlanta
    • Paul Hamilton, president and CEO of Atlanta Esports Ventures (ATLANTA) “The partnership between Province, Inc. and Cox Enterprises has been remarkable. We have the opportunity to – once again – play a pivotal role in Atlanta’s diverse esports community by bringing the future of Call of Duty esports to the city. Activision Blizzard has a proven track record for mastering this city-based team model, making them the ideal partner for this endeavor.”
  • Dallas, TX – Envy Gaming Inc., a staple in esports since 2007 with teams competing this year in the Call of Duty World League (Envy) and Overwatch League (Dallas Fuel)
    • Mike Rufail, owner and CEO at Envy Gaming Inc. (DALLAS) – “Our organization’s roots are in Call of Duty. Envy was founded as a professional Call of Duty team in 2007 and my own journey as an esports professional began as a Call of Duty player, coach and broadcaster. We’ve built one of the most-winning Call of Duty teams in the world over the last decade and are excited to bring that heritage to the new league as the hometown Call of Duty franchise for Dallas.”
  • New York, NY – Sterling.VC, an early stage sports and media company backed by Sterling Equities – a family-run group of companies owned by the Wilpon and Katz families with several business operations including the New York Mets
    • Scott Wilpon, Partner at Sterling.VC (NEW YORK) – “In 2017, we had the privilege of launching the first professional New York esports franchise with NYXL, the New York franchise in The Overwatch League. Since then, we’ve seen remarkable support from the local community, and we couldn’t be more excited to launch our second New York franchise and represent the best fans in the world in Call of Duty, a game with a longstanding history and major following in New York.”
  • Paris, France – c0ntact Gaming, LLC., is the parent company of both the Overwatch League team, Paris Eternal, and the Paris Call of Duty esports team
    • Drew McCourt, founder and owner of c0ntact Gaming, LLC. (PARIS) – “We’re excited to bring the future of Call of Duty esports to iconic Paris for the inaugural season and represent our fans in France, Europe, and throughout the world.”
  • Toronto, Canada OverActive Media, an integrated company delivering esports and video game entertainment to the Canadian market
    • Chris Overholt, President and CEO at OverActive Media (TORONTO) – “OverActive Media is building a global esports organization that will redefine the future of sport and entertainment, and today is another significant step toward that goal. We are really proud to have secured another professional esports franchise in Toronto and we are looking forward to launching our new Call of Duty team and players in front of our fans and supporters.” 

There is no official start date for the new Call of Duty Esports League, but it’s a fascinating development, nonetheless.  What does this mean for the future of Call of Duty World League and the other franchises that participate in this league?  Is there room for two esports leagues of the same game?  We’ll be tracking that and which cities will join the league, as more news is revealed.