The eighth and ninth spots for the inaugural season of the franchised Call of Duty league have been confirmed, acquired by Misfits Gaming and Kroenke Esports & Entertainment, who will represent the Florida and second LA franchises respectively.
Activision first revealed that the eighth spot had been sold for the league in their latest earnings call, but kept the location and owner under wraps.
On August 20, Misfits confirmed that they had purchased the Florida spot, which was unsurprising really, given they already own Florida Mayhem in Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League.
Misfits explained that their experience with the Overwatch League and Activision Blizzard was part of their decision to expand into the Call of Duty league, and said that their experience in the “franchise model” give them a “huge advantage”.
Kroenke Esports & Entertainment, holding company for NFL team Los Angeles Rams and Premier League side Arsenal, have acquired the second Los Angeles spot. Like Misfits, the firm also owns an Overwatch League team, in the LA Gladiators.
OpTic Gaming, and their parent company Immortals Gaming Club, acquired the other LA spot, meaning there will be a city rivalry just like the Overwatch League.
The Call of Duty league’s commissioner, Johanna Fairies, said: “Both ownership groups have a shared commitment to the growth of esports and building professional teams in their markets that home fans can be proud of and rally behind in the new city-based format.”
There are now a total of nine spots confirmed: New York, Paris, Dallas, Toronto, Atlanta, Minnesota, Florida and the two Los Angeles brands.
What is the franchised Call of Duty league?
Having first implemented the franchise system for their other big esport title with the Overwatch League, Activision are now transforming the decade-old Call of Duty esport into a fully-fledged franchise league too.
The league will use city-based brands, meaning the renowned organizations like OpTic Gaming, Team Envy and FaZe Clan will be no more, at least officially. Exact naming rules haven’t been announced publicly yet, but it is expected that all new team names and branding will be created
A leaked deck obtained by Dexerto revealed more details about the upcoming league, including roster sizes, minimum salaries and more, but Activision say the details are still being ironed out.
Although it is set to bring more stability to Call of Duty esports, there are concerns about how the franchise system may affect the amateur scene, and whether it will be able to live up to the hype of open events, which have been a mainstay of competitive CoD since its inception.
The league is set to begin in 2020, and will be played on the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, set for release on October 25.