Scump & H3CZ sue Activision for $680M over Call of Duty League’s “monopoly” on CoD esports

Brad Norton
The Call of Duty League logo.

Call of Duty legends Seth ‘Scump’ Abner and Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez have filed a lawsuit against Activision, citing its ‘monopolistic’ hold over the CoD esports scene.

CoD’s most popular player and OpTic’s owner respectively in Scump and H3CZ, filed a lawsuit on February 15, 2024 against Call of Duty publisher Activision.

The suit alleges Activision holds an “unlawful monopoly” over the CoD esports scene, and has ‘wielded’ its power to “prohibit” growth in an “anticompetitive” nature. Namely, those involved have taken a legal stance against the Call of Duty League’s initial ‘entry fee,’ alleging “Activision coerced 12 teams to pay an “extortionate $27.5 million” for the “privilege” of being able to compete.

It was just last year the Overwatch League, another exclusive esports ecosystem under the Activision Blizzard King umbrella, crumbled, with teams being owed up to $7.5 million at the time of its shuttering.

Teams impacted are seeking up to $680 million in damages. This news was first reported by Bloomberg Law.

scump playing for optic chicago in call of duty league
CoD’s most popular player, Scump, is among the names backing the lawsuit.

The lawsuit points to a number of restrictions enforced by CoD’s publisher. For one, Activision allegedly holds the “exclusive right to contract with the most lucrative sponsors,” limiting the brands individual teams and players can enlist to drive additional revenue.

Furthermore, those signed to the CDL allegedly must “refrain from participating in or supporting any Call of Duty leagues of tournaments other than the Activision CoD League.” This has been a hot topic in recent years, with offseason tournaments typically a sore spot with CDL player involvement never guaranteed.

This restriction also extends to “commercialized Call of Duty gameplay outside of the league,” meaning teams cannot monetize friendly competitions with zero bearing on the CDL standings.

Referencing specific interactions with League officials, the lawsuit highlights one occasion in which Scump, the biggest name in the CDL at the time, was “forced to agree to lengthy, Activision-drafted” documentation “while at a photoshoot, without adequate time to review, under threat of being excluded from the CoD League.” This can be traced back to a tweet posted by Scump in November 2020.

Keeping with Scump, the lawsuit even claims the CDL is still imposing various restrictions on the mega-popular CoD star to this day, despite his retirement last year. “Activision used its monopoly power to prevent these former players from accepting vast categories of revenue opportunities related to professional Call of Duty.”

Ultimately, those involved in the lawsuit claim the CDL “impermissibly enriched Activision at the expense of the professional Call of Duty players and the team now under Activision’s thumb.”

At this stage, with Major 2 Online Qualifiers just about to commence, it’s unclear how the remainder of the 2024 CDL season will pan out. Competition could come to a close much sooner than planned, OpTic would refuse to compete, or the remaining weeks may play as intended out in what could be the CDL’s final year of operations.

Shortly after publishing, Dexerto received the following statement from Activision Blizzard:

“Mr. Rodriguez (aka OpTic H3CZ) and Mr. Abner (aka Scump) demanded that Activision pay them tens of millions of dollars to avoid this meritless litigation, and when their demands were not met, they filed. We will strongly defend against these claims, which have no basis in fact or in law.

“We are disappointed that these members of the esports community would bring this suit which is disruptive to team owners, players, fans, and partners who have invested so much time and energy into the Call of Duty League’s success.”

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About The Author

Brad Norton is the Australian Managing Editor at Dexerto. He graduated from Swinburne University with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and has been working full-time in the field for the past six years at the likes of Gamurs Group and now Dexerto. He loves all things single-player gaming (with Uncharted a personal favorite) but has a history on the competitive side having previously run Oceanic esports org Mindfreak. You can contact Brad at