Franchising in professional Call of Duty is becoming a poorly kept secret as the owner of Team Kaliber said it is happening next year.
While speaking on a podcast, Team Kaliber owner Justin ‘KOSDFF’ Chandler answered a fan’s question on why TK is not competing in Black Ops 4.
“We are negotiating to buy a franchise license,” said Chandler. “CoD is franchising next year. So if we couldn’t get a franchise, it made it kind of hard to want to invest in [a Black Ops 4 team.]”
— COD World League INTEL (@INTELCallofDuty) January 20, 2019
Since Team Kaliber does not have a team in Black Ops 4, it calls into question how how they view their chances of landing a franchise for next season.
Franchising means Call of Duty will follow a traditional sports league model similar to the NFL, NBA or MLB, where owners buy guaranteed spots in the competition.
Currently, the Call of Duty World League has to be qualified for through an intense play-in tournament.
The CoD franchise rumor started when another Activision game, Overwatch, debuted its own successful esports league with locked in places.
The Overwatch League saw huge investment, with some teams paying between 20 and 60 million dollars for a spot. Traditional sports franchises like the New York Mets and New England Patriots picked up places in the league, showing how profitable esports franchises might be one day.
Established Call of Duty organizations like OpTic Gaming, Team EnVy and Splyce are involved in OWL franchises already, potentially giving them managerial experience when CoD implements a similar system.