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- During the company’s Q2 earnings call to investors, Activision Blizzard stated that eight Call of Duty League (CDL) franchise slots had been sold.
- Prior to the call, only seven CDL teams had been confirmed for Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New York, Paris, and Toronto.
- Activision Blizzard has not revealed additional information about the eighth CDL slot, except that all teams were sold “at a premium” and “with superb owners.”
Activision Blizzard has sold eight franchise slots for its new Call of Duty League, chief executive officer Bobby Kotick told investors during the company’s Q2 2019 earnings call this week.
“We remain the industry leader in esports and we will broaden the audience of Call of Duty even further through the launch of Call of Duty Global League,” said Kotick on the call. “We’ve now sold eight teams, all at a premium to the initial Overwatch League team sales and with superb owners. “
Prior to the earnings call on August 8, only seven confirmed teams had been announced publicly. A source close to the league recently told The Sports Business Journal to expect at least 12 teams in all.
The seven confirmed city-based teams will represent Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New York, Paris, and Toronto. Atlanta Esports Ventures (Atlanta), Envy Gaming (Dallas), and OverActive Media (Toronto) are also team owners in the Overwatch League.
Activision has been reported as asking $25M USD per expansion fee for the Call of Duty League.
“Esports remains a growth priority for the company,” Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard president and chief operating officer told investors, stating that it “strengthens the durability” of the company’s franchises while “generating new revenue and earning streams.”
“Looking forward, we plan to build on the strong engagement and Call of Duty franchise with new experiences in the coming months,” Johnson added. “We will continue to make great progress laying the groundwork for the new Call of Duty Esports League.”
It should be noted that references made by executives to “Call of Duty League,” “Call of Duty Global League,” and “Call of Duty Esports League” during the earnings call are all regarding the same entity, while “Call of Duty World League” refers to CWL.
Total hours played in the Call of Duty franchise saw double-digit year-over-year (YoY) growth for Q2 2019, Johnson said. Meanwhile, average minute viewing for Call of Duty World League (CWL) grew “around 50% YoY,” per Johnson.
“At Activision, ‘more platforms, more countries, more players’ is the new Call of Duty battle cry,” said Kotick.
In July, Activision Blizzard announced that the 2020 inaugural Call of Duty League season will immediately start with a home/away format for events. The timing coincides with the new home/away format for Overwatch League.
“We think [the home/away format] will be a big driver of not only local fan interest in many of our markets but also broader viewership as well,” Dennis Durkin, chief financial officer and president of Activision Blizzard said during the earnings call Q&A portion. “We did see some early indicators of solid progress on that this quarter with the Dallas and Atlanta homestands that brought thousands of spectators to the home arenas in those respective areas.
“So I think that bodes well for as we rolled our format out [for] next year across the League, not only for the Overwatch League but for the Call of Duty League as well.”
Activision Blizzard posted net revenues of $1.4B USD in Q2 2019, a 15% drop from $1.64B in Q2 2018 YoY. Net bookings also decreased at a rate of 13% YoY to $1.21B. Despite losses attributed to its “transition year,” Activision Blizzard raised its full-year outlook from nearly $6.03B in net revenues to $6.19B.
Activision Blizzard did not immediately respond to requests for additional information.
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