London, Seattle, and Chicago unveiled as latest Call of Duty franchises - Dexerto
Call of Duty

London, Seattle, and Chicago unveiled as latest Call of Duty franchises

Published: 13/Sep/2019 12:38 Updated: 14/Sep/2019 10:36

by Ross Deason

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Activision Blizzard have announced what are expected to be the final three teams that will compete in the first ever Call of Duty franchised esports league. 

Chicago, London and Seattle franchises will be joining the likes of Paris, Toronto and New York in the 12-city league, which kicks off in 2020.

Activision had confirmed in February 2019 that the open CoD World League model that has been in operation since 2016 would cease, and would be replaced by a franchise model that is traditionally seen in North American sports leagues. In the past, any team, even amateurs, had the opportunity to make a name for themselves each year by qualifying for the league, but the new model requires organizations to purchase one of the franchises for a substantial fee.

MLGCall of Duty will move to a franchised model for the 2020 season.

Following in the footsteps of the Overwatch League that launched in 2018, franchises are tied to a city and bidders are required to pay a reported $25 million to secure a spot, with the promise of shared wealth via an ecosystem that would distribute any money made in brand deals.

Nine cities had previously been confirmed for the CoD league, including some (Dallas, Los Angeles, London) that are represented in the OWL. Now, on September 13, we have finally discovered more about the remaining three.

All about the Chicago Call of Duty team

The organization behind the Chicago Call of Duty franchise is NRG, a name that has become synonymous with esports in recent years. Established in 2016 by Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov, the co-owners of the NBA basketball team Sacramento Kings, NRG also own the San Francisco Shock in the Overwatch League.

Miller described the all-new Call of Duty esports league as as the “perfect opportunity” to get involved in CoD’s competitive scene:

“NRG has loved Call of Duty and the competitive pro and amateur scene for a long time now,” he said. “The formation of the new Call of Duty esports league provided the perfect opportunity for the org to jump in. The prospect of having Chicago written across our team’s chests was the icing on the cake. We hope to transfer our winning formula from the San Francisco Shock of the Overwatch League to the new Call of Duty esports league and our Chicago team.”

Overwatch LeagueNRG own the Overwatch League’s San Francisco Shock.

All about the London Call Of Duty team

Heading up the new London franchise will be ReKTGlobal, the parent company of Rogue, a global esports organization that has been growing rapidly since its inception in September 2016. They count musicians Steve Aoki, Nicky Romero and Imagine Dragons among their investors.

Amish Shah, the Founder and Chairman of ReKTGlobal Inc., said that the organization were excited by the opportunity to grow their brand in the UK, a country which showed that it was home to some of the most passionate CoD fans in the world when the 2019 Call of Duty World League came to London during the Black Ops 4 season.

“On behalf of the entire ReKTGlobal organization, we are thrilled that we’ve landed the London team for Call of Duty,” said Shah. “My co-founder, Dave Bialek, and I feel that some of the most enthusiastic esports fans are based in London and we are not only excited but welcome the challenge to represent the city, while gaining larger visibility and growing our brand within the UK.

“Our core UK team is eager to bring the championship home with the support of the community, their family and friends, and investors such as Steve Aoki, Imagine Dragons, Nicky Romero and DrLupo. We also have a number of surprises in store for the fans so get your popcorn ready and join us on our championship journey.”

ESLRogue found success in Overwatch before the introduction of the franchised league.

All about the Seattle Call of Duty team

The Seattle Call of Duty team will be owned by the Aquilini Group and Enthusiast Gaming. Founded more than 50 years ago by Luigi Aquilini, The Aquilini Investment Group is a family business that’s known for its involvement in American sports. The group’s entertainment division currently includes NHL ice hockey team Vancouver Canucks, the National Lacrosse League’s Vancouver Warriors and the Overwatch League’s Vancouver Titans.

Enthusiast Gaming is a digital media company that will be recognised by many esports fans as the parent company of Luminosity Gaming – one of the most well known organizations in competitive gaming and a staple in competitive CoD since 2015.

Francesco Aquilini, the Managing Director of the Aquilini Group, said: “Esports has shown extraordinary growth and we’re excited to continue to be at the forefront with a new Call of Duty esports team. We are thrilled with the performance of the Vancouver Titans in the Overwatch League in their inaugural season, and with the continued support and expertise of our partners at Luminosity and Enthusiast Gaming, we believe the new Call of Duty esports league is also well positioned for success.

“Along with the Titans, we look forward to continuing our engagement with the esports community in the Pacific Northwest with this new Seattle-based Call of Duty team, and delivering on our goal to create first-class fan experiences.”

MLGLuminosity found success during Call of Duty’s Black Ops 4 season.

Chicago, London, and Seattle join the previously announced teams in Atlanta, Dallas, Florida, Minnesota, New York, Paris, and Toronto, as well as the two teams in Los Angeles. All 12 of these franchise teams will host games in their home market when the season begins in 2020.

The fact that there are 12 teams in the Call of Duty esports league is significant as fans of the Overwatch League will remember that it too started with 12 franchises, before Activision Blizzard increased the number to 20. While nothing has been confirmed at this point, it is likely that we have now been introduced to every team that will compete in the inaugural season of Call of Duty’s franchise league.

The other announced ownership groups are Atlanta Esports Ventures for Atlanta, Envy Gaming Inc. for Dallas, Misfits Gaming for Florida, WISE Ventures for Minnesota, Sterling. VC for New York, c0ntact Gaming for Paris, and OverActive Media for Toronto. Immortals Gaming Club and Kroenke Sports and Entertainment own the two respective Los Angeles teams.

However, some of the biggest names in Call of Duty will not be involved in the first season. 100 Thieves and Gen.G opted not to buy into the league, along with FaZe Clan – an organization that is synonymous with Call of Duty – and 2019 Call of Duty World League champions eUnited.

CWLCWL Championships 2019 winners eUnited have yet to announce a franchise.

They join the likes of Enigma6, Evil Geniuses, compLexity, Heretics, and Vitality as Call of Duty powerhouses that have not yet announced a franchise or have already ruled themselves out of contention for the 2020 season.

Call of Duty’s franchised league will mark a new beginning for a competitive scene that has been growing and evolving for over a decade. Names that have been linked to the CoD esports landscape since its infancy will disappear as a new era of city-based franchising is ushered in.

While some community veterans, including 100 Thieves owner Nadeshot, have expressed concerns about the change, others – such as Team Envy owner hastr0 – are seeing it as an opportunity to grow something brand new.

One thing’s for sure – the passion of Call of Duty’s esports fans, players, and franchise owners will continue to shine through as it always has.

Call of Duty

How to watch HusKerrs Howl $300K Warzone event: streams & schedule

Published: 30/Oct/2020 3:39 Updated: 30/Oct/2020 3:45

by Brad Norton

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Another massive Warzone event is heating up as popular content creator and battle royale champion Jordan ‘HusKerrs’ Thomas is hosting his very own tournament with $300,000 on the line.

Following close behind Vikkstar’s original Warzone competition, HusKerrs is next in line for his own huge Call of Duty event. HusKerrs Howl aims to crown the best partners in the world as this unique event focuses on Duos action.

After making history as the first player to pass six figures in Warzone winnings, it’s only fitting that HusKerrs’ event comes with the biggest prize pool yet. A whopping $300,000 is up for grabs over the course of two weeks.

From the teams that will be dropping in to when each round of action is taking place, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about the HusKerrs Howl Warzone event.

What is the HusKerrs Howl Warzone event?

The HusKerrs Howl event is one of the biggest Warzone tournaments to date. Not just in terms of prizing, but in how long it’s set to last and how many teams will be getting involved.

Duos will be dropping into Verdansk across multiple weeks in order to qualify for the Finals. Additionally, there’s also a special one-off Zombie Trios section to get things going before the Duos competition really begins.

A brand new Twitch channel has been created just for this event with HusKerrs set to host. We’ve embedded this below for your convenience. Expect almost every competitor to be sharing their own perspective throughout the tournament as well.  

HusKerrs Howl Warzone event schedule

Warzone gameplay
Infinity Ward
HusKerrs Howl will be starting with a Zombie Royale showdown.

First up is the special Zombie Day event on Friday, October 30 at 1 PM PT / 4 PM ET. This is a unique Trios competition in the Zombie Royale playlists. Only one team can take out the prize for what is essentially a warm-up run before the real show starts up.

The following day on October 31, Duos will be dropping in for the first round of qualifying action. This will be followed up by the second and third rounds on November 5 and November 6 respectively.

Last but not least, the best Duos from the qualifiers will advance through to the Finals. This takes place on November 7 to determine the overall winner of the HusKerrs Howl event.

HusKerrs Howl Warzone event format

Warzone gameplay
Infinity Ward
This particular competition is for Duos only.

This particular Warzone competition is for Duos only and will feature a double-elimination bracket. 16 teams will be dropping in for the first day of action. They will go head to head until the very end with only the Top 3 qualifying for the Finals.

For the final two days of the qualifiers, only eight duos will be playing. From here, the Top 2 make it into the Finals. This makes seven Duos so HusKerrs will be taking the eighth and final spot.

As teams are going head to head, the Duo with the highest point total in each matchup will advance. No different from most Warzone events, teams will be awarded one point per elimination. There’s currently no telling how many points will be awarded for higher placements in each match.

Stay tuned over the coming days for full recaps and results as the action gets underway. Big names such as Symfuhny, Aydan, and TeePee are all expected for the event. So it’s sure to be an intense tournament.