The new Call of Duty league, set to debut in 2020, will begin with home-and-away event formatting immediately, Activision Blizzard revealed on July 25.
The Call of Duty league will run similar to sports leagues, where city-based organizations in either North America or overseas will travel to face opponents each week, according to Sports Business Daily.
“We’re thrilled that the future of Call of Duty esports will bring more competitive events to fans in cities around the globe. With seven teams already signed on, we anticipate a robust slate of events held in all home markets,” incoming Call of Duty esports commissioner Johanna Faries said in a statement to SBD of the home-and-away format.
The report also suggested the league would be fielding at least 12 geographically-located teams, including founding franchises in Atlanta (Atlanta Esports Ventures), Dallas (Team EnVy), Los Angeles (Immortals Gaming Club), Minnesota (WISE Ventures, LLC), New York (Sterling VC & New York Mets), Paris (c0ntact Gaming, LLC), and Toronto (OverActive Media).
These franchise slots did not come cheap either. It has been rumored the buy-in to the new league has been priced at $25 million by Activision Blizzard. That’s an increase from the $20m price set by the same company for Overwatch League (OWL) in 2017.
The price-point is also considerably more than League of Legends Championship Series slots were sold at when Riot Games’ North American competition moved to a franchise format in 2018. Those ten slots were sold for between $10-13 million.
The move towards a travel-based format also suggested Blizzard Activision has been impressed with the OWL’s early tests with home stadiums this season. While tournament organizers held off deploying the home-and-away competition style in the OWL for two full seasons, both the Call of Duty league and OWL will fully commit across the board next year.
The franchised Call of Duty league is set to begin in 2020, with no official starting date revealed. The final tournament of the previous competition format, the Call of Duty World League, is set to be hosted in Los Angeles from August 14-18. The CWL Championship boasts a $2 million prize pool.