Call of Duty

All confirmed Call of Duty League franchise teams and owners

Published: 30/Aug/2019 12:46 Updated: 30/Aug/2019 13:17

by Matt Porter

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Major changes are coming to Call of Duty Esports, with the game moving to a franchised league model for the 2020 season. Who are the teams and players competing in the inaugural CDL season, and who owns them? Here’s everything we know about the franchises.

For years, Call of Duty has been an open circuit, with any team eligible to compete in the major tournaments which are held across the world. In 2020, that will change, as CoD moves to a franchised league format, with only teams who have purchased a city-based spot able to compete in Modern Warfare.

So far, nine teams have signed on to take part in the competition, which will see organizations establish themselves in a city, and play home and away games across the season.

With Activision selling spots priced at $25 million, it’s no surprise that any team who wants to compete has some serious backing behind them, and you can take a look at who is splashing the cash on the franchise spots for the 2020 CDL season.

AstroeUnited were the final CWL Champs winners before franchising begins.

CoD NYC – Sterling VC / NYXL

Following their success in the Overwatch League with sister team NYXL, Sterling Equities, which includes the owners of the New York Mets baseball franchise, have signed on to bring Call of Duty to New York City in 2020.

The organization has moved quickly to fill out their coaching positions, bringing in former Evil Geniuses coach John ‘Revan’ Boble, while statistician JP Krez has signed on as an analyst.

Robert Paul for Blizzard EntertainmentSterling Equities already own the New York Excelsior in the Overwatch League.

CoD Atlanta – Atlanta Esports Ventures

American media company Cox Enterprises, which operate the Cox Communications media network which includes television and radio stations, newspapers and advertising sales rep firms are the driving force in bringing Call of Duty to Atlanta, Georgia.

This isn’t Atlanta Esports Ventures’ first foray into the world of competitive gaming, as they already operate the Atlanta Reign Overwatch League franchise.

CoD Toronto – OverActive Media

Toronto is a Call of Duty franchise with strong links to the esport, with OverActive Media acting as the parent company for one of the game’s most popular teams, Splyce.

Mark ‘MarkyB’ Bryceland will act as the team’s coach, while the lineup looks set to change from that of Splyce, with Donovan ‘Temp’ Laroda and Ulysses ‘AquA’ Silva announcing they are restricted free agents heading into the new season.

MLGSplyce competed in the 2019 Call of Duty season.

CWL Paris – c0ntact Gaming

As things stand, Paris is the only European city have a CDL franchise confirmed, but as to where they will play their home games, considering every other team so far is based in North America, remains to be seen.

The franchise has been purchased by c0ntact Gaming LLC, but little else is known about the team.

CWL Dallas – Team Envy

Perhaps the most historically-linked CDL franchise so far, the Dallas entry into the competition will be owned and operated by one of the game’s most legendary organizations, Team Envy.

Envy are former Call of Duty World Champions, winning the 2016 edition of the tournament during the Black Ops 3 season, and have experience in owning a franchise in an Activision-owned competition, with the Dallas Fuel competing in the Overwatch League.

ActivisionTeam Envy are former CoD World Champions, and own the Dallas Fuel OWL team.

CoD Florida – Misfits Gaming

Misfits Gaming, who own the Florida Mayhem OWL franchise, are another new entry to the realm of Call of Duty, but are certainly no strangers to esports.

The team also owns a franchise in League of Legends’ LEC competition, and have signed Halo legend Tom ‘OGRE2’ Ryan as manager of the CoD team.

CoD Los Angeles – Immortals Gaming Club / OpTic Gaming

The first of two L.A. franchises, Immortals Gaming Club bought the spot back in July 2019, following their purchase of legendary CoD organization OpTic Gaming.

The Greenwall have been intertwined with the esport for over a decade, but with former owner Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez unable to acquire the team following Infinite Esports’ decision to sell, it appears that a new-look OpTic will take to the stage in 2020. Whether the organization’s players or fans will follow to Los Angeles remains to be seen.

DexertoImmortals Gaming Club now owns the OpTic Gaming brand.

CoD Minnesota – WISE Ventures

Already being referred to as CoD North, WISE Ventures were announced on July 1 as the latest owners of a CDL franchise, and come with an extensive pedigree in sports to back up their ambitions.

WISE Ventures is led by the Wilf family, who also own and operate the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL, alongside entrepreneur and YouTube personality Gary Vaynerchuk.

CoD Los Angeles – Kroenke Sports & Entertainment

Los Angeles’ second spot has been purchased by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, who already operate the LA Gladiators in the Overwatch League.

The company also owns a huge number of sports teams, including the Premier League’s Arsenal, the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, NBA’s Denver Nuggets and both Colorado’s NHL and MLS teams.

Robert Paul for Blizzard EntertainmentKroenke Sports & Entertainment owns the L.A. Gladiators OWL squad.

Who won’t be in the Call of Duty franchised league?

While some of esports’ biggest names have thrown their hat in the ring for the 2020 season, there are a number of big Call of Duty teams who won’t be participating in the competition.

2018 World Champions Evil Geniuses announced they wouldn’t be pursuing a spot in the franchise league, while Team Reciprocity released three players on August 28.

The most surprising though was 100 Thieves, considering CEO Matt ‘Nadeshot’ Haag’s legendary career as a CoD professional. In a video released on August 29, he cited the incredible cost of owning and running one of the teams, alongside the fact that they would have to alter their brand, as reasons for the team’s decision to pass on the league at least temporarily, with Nadeshot expressing his sadness that they won’t be involved from the start.

Call of Duty

Why H3CZ doesn’t see LA Thieves as OpTic’s biggest CDL rival

Published: 20/Jan/2021 3:23

by Brad Norton

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While the OpTic Chicago and Los Angeles Thieves matchup has the Call of Duty scene salivating, it won’t be the Green Wall’s biggest rivalry in the 2021 season, according to CEO Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez.

With the history between H3CZ and Thieves owner Matthew ‘Nadeshot’ Haag, it’s easy for fans to hype up their first CDL showdown. They may be close friends outside the game, but both are gunning for that top spot in the league.

Given the Thieves are a brand new force for the 2021 season, viewers are excited to see them in action. Fans even voted OpTic to be their very first opponents in the upcoming CDL Kickoff Classic.

Despite the anticipation, however, H3CZ doesn’t buy into the rivalry. “Do you think that’s going to be your team’s biggest rival this year?” Anthony ‘NAMELESS’ Wheeler asked during a January 19 interview. “No,” H3CZ bluntly replied.

Nadeshot next to the Los Angeles Thieves logo
LA Thieves
The Thieves’ first showdown with the Green Wall is sure to be a spectacle, though H3CZ doesn’t buy into the rivalry.

“I get it. I get we’re trying to hype this thing up,” he admitted. Though H3CZ would rather see the league’s biggest feuds grow “organically.” Rather than immediately lining the Thieves up as their top challenger due to history outside of the game, he’d rather see narratives emerge from within.

“I just don’t think Call of Duty needs the added extra. Storylines are going to develop from the beginning.”

Instead, H3CZ doubled down on a stance he made clear back in December. “Everyone that doesn’t say FaZe or Empire is their number one rivalry is just playing for the crowd,” he explained.

To be the best, OpTic has to beat the best and that’s just what H3CZ intends for the Chicago lineup to achieve in 2021. “Everybody here is going after Empire, period. If you’re not gunning after the champions… I don’t know.”

The relevant topic begins at the 14:00 mark below.

Trying to force a major beef between the Green Wall and the Thieves is simply “too WWE,” according to H3CZ. “For people to be like ‘oh, it’s Nadeshot vs H3CZ,’ we’re not those dudes.”

So while the matchup might be intense when these two juggernauts first collide on January 24, don’t expect to see any wild trash talk from either owner. Empire and FaZe are the true rivals for OpTic in 2021, according to H3CZ.