After weeks of hints and teases from various members of the Call of Duty community, Activision have finally confirmed that they are launching a franchised league for Call of Duty.
During their Q4 2018 Earnings Call on February 12, Activision gave official confirmation that the Call of Duty World League will be moving to a franchised format.
Activision confirms they are going to launch a city-based franchised league for Call of Duty.— Call of Duty News • charlieINTEL.com (@charlieINTEL) February 12, 2019
Under the current system for the Black Ops 4 season, most Call of Duty teams had to compete in a grueling qualifier before the start of the season just to play in the CWL. Under a franchise system, teams would be locked indefinitely and wouldn't have to compete for their spot.
Hours before Activision's official announcement, a Hitmarker listing for a new Brand Manager who “will help manage the look and feel of the Call of Duty World League with franchise owners, broadcasters and other external partners” appeared, lending more credence to the coming arrival of franchising.
The Hitmarker listing gives good confirmation that franchised Call of Duty will look to create a unified structure much like what has been seen so far with the Overwatch League, which was also confirmed by Activision Blizzard's CEO during the Earnings Call.
We also intend to build on our experience with the Overwatch League to launch a professional, city-based Call of Duty league that drives franchise engagement and represents a size-able incremental economic opportunity.
Although switching to a franchise might make it harder for up-and-coming teams to compete at the highest level, those already in the league can enjoy long-term development that could give way for expansions in the future.
Being a part of a franchised team in an esport as storied as Call of Duty will be a coveted tag for any organization owner to acquire if the price is right.
The current season of the CWL Pro League is currently in its second week and will be the last chance for teams and players to compete in a non-franchised setting.