Credit: Activision Blizzard
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Activision Blizzard Esports this afternoon will announce that next year’s inaugural season of the new Call of Duty league will immediately start with a home/away format for events. The video game publisher is launching the new city-based Call of Duty league next year and is also now in the second year of running the similarly geo-located Overwatch League .
But while OWL is only transitioning to running its regular home/away format next season after mainly playing at Activision’s California studio the first two years, the announcement today will reveal that the new Call of Duty league will start playing home matches right away. Activision, which is doubling down on the city-based method for esports with the new league, chose to wait till ’20 to start playing regular home/away matches for OWL to give new teams time to build up their operations and local fanbases. This is in contrast to Riot Games’ League of Legends series, which aren’t city-based. Activision will transition to the new league next year from its current model, which is called the Call of Duty World League and takes place at MLG Arena in Columbus with 16 teams.
Newly appointed Call of Duty Esports Commissioner Johanna Faries in a statement said: “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.”
The league has announced seven teams in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New York, Paris, and Toronto — but a source familiar with the league’s plans said to expect at least 12.
Activision has been reported as asking $25M USD per expansion fee for the Call of Duty league. Some of the team owners for the new Call of Duty league are also owners in the OWL, including Atlanta Esports Ventures (Atlanta), Envy Gaming (Dallas), and OverActive Media (Toronto).
Adam Stern is a staff writer for Sports Business Journal, where this article first appeared.