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- Activision Blizzard has locked in the number of geolocated Call of Duty teams for the first season after selling 12 franchises.
- The league will begin play in 2020, and has been called the “Call of Duty Global League,” although that name is not yet final.
- The Overwatch League (OWL) also began with 12 teams before expanding to 20 in the second season. Ten of the 12 Call of Duty franchise owners also have OWL teams.
The upcoming geolocated Call of Duty league will include 12 teams in its first season, as Activision Blizzard has finished selling franchise spots for the league.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick confirmed the move in an interview with The Washington Post. “Our goal for the future of Call of Duty Esports was to partner with ownership groups who are committed to bringing the next professional sports teams to their cities and building a community of home market fans,” he said. “We have found those partners and the 2020 Call of Duty Esports League is officially locked with 12 teams.”
The league has been referred to as the “Call of Duty Global League” in an Activision Blizzard earnings call, although the Washington Post article claims that an official name has not yet been finalized. The publisher’s Overwatch League (OWL) also began with 12 teams in its debut season in 2018 before expanding to 20 teams for the 2019 season.
“We just like the symmetry, first of all, with how Overwatch League had done in its first year and we really wanted to focus on North America and Europe to start and really grow from there,” Call of Duty Esports Commissioner Johanna Faries told The Washington Post.
Like the Overwatch League, the Call of Duty league will host its matches in each team’s home market in 2020. The Overwatch League will shift from the Blizzard Arena to two-day homestands hosted by each team, with each organization hosting at least two such homestands during the season. It’s not yet known whether Call of Duty will precisely mirror that format or take a different approach.
Ten of the 12 Call of Duty franchise slots are owned by organizations that also have OWL teams, including OpTic Gaming/Immortals Gaming Club (Los Angeles Valiant), NRG Esports (San Francisco Shock), and Envy Gaming (Dallas Fuel). The league will include teams based in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Florida, London, Minnesota, New York, Paris, Seattle, and Toronto, as well as two Los Angeles teams.
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