Activision Blizzard Esports have announced the next two cities to secure franchise spots during the first year of the newly franchised Call of Duty League – Los Angeles with OpTic Gaming and Minnesota as part of WISE Ventures, of which Gary Vaynerchuk is an investor.
Following the sale of the first five-city based franchises, Activision have announced that Los Angeles and Minnesota will also compete in the first franchised league in Call of Duty history.
Los Angeles will be led by Immortals Gaming Club’s OpTic Gaming while Minnesota will be headed up by WISE Ventures, a fund based in Manhattan who list popular entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk as an investor.
CEO of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, welcomed the move stating: “I’m excited to welcome the newest teams, Los Angeles and Minnesota, to our incredible lineup – Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris and Toronto - for Call of Duty esports.
“Together, these ownership groups represent some of the very best organizations in esports and traditional sports who will join us in paving the way for the future of professional, city-based competition for Call of Duty.”
Fans of OpTic will be pleased to see the team competing in Call of Duty next year with the CEO of Immortals Gaming Club, Ari Segal, recognizing the importance of their participation.
“By participating in the city-based model, we recognize the opportunity that the new Call of Duty esports league creates for us to tap into two existing sources of affinity: regional or city-based pride, and affinity for Call of Duty itself.
“Call of Duty League also allows us to scale the relationships we’ve been fortunate to build with both Activision Blizzard Esports leadership and senior management into a new and largely distinct market segment.”
On the other hand, Jonathan Wilf of WISE Ventures also expressed his excitement at the long-term vision that Minnesota are looking to create in the newly formed league.
Wilf said: “Esports and competitive gaming has clearly emerged as a major force in the sports and entertainment industry. We have explored various opportunities in esports over the past few years, and we believe the new Call of Duty esports league is well positioned for long term success.”
After being speculated for quite some time, Activision confirmed city-based franchising during their Q4 2018 Earnings Call on February 12.
Following that announcement, the first five cities (Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris, and Toronto) were announced on May 2.
The official start date for the inaugural franchised season hasn't been announced yet, but it's expected to start in early-2020, which is perfectly in line with the normal start of the Pro League.