Reports have surfaced on June 19th which allude to a franchised League system for Call of Duty, similar to Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League, but details remain unclear.
Earlier this year, Activision released its 2017 Annual Report, in which it mentions launching “team sales” for the Call of Duty ‘professional league’.
This is a much more direct indication of a franchised league than that which was released with the May 3rd 2018 Q1 report from Activision, which simply stated:
League capabilities to be applied to other franchises in the near future, including Call of Duty.
With the success of the Overwatch League (OWL), many fans presumed that Activision would be seriously considering implementing the same format for the CWL.
However, Overwatch and the OWL is a very different esports eco-system than Call of Duty, with the latter promoting a large global amateur scene through its regular open events.
Although there are obvious benefits from the franchised system, and it seems to the be direction many esports are going in (for example LoL’s LCS franchise system), many in the Call of Duty community are fearful it would be detrimental to the amateur scene.
In Activision’s earnings call earlier this year, they also hinted at the franchise system, saying their experience with the OWL could be applied to the CWL.
Our expertise launching and growing the Overwatch League will allow us to launch additional professional esports initiatives. Later this year we intend to expand the number of Overwatch teams and launch team sales for the Call of Duty professional league.
However, in their Q1 report released on May 3rd, no mention of these team sales was given, only that “league capabilities” would be applied to Call of Duty.
Activision also calls franchises one of their “building blocks for growth”:
“Franchises become even more enduring, like professional sports.”
Source: Activision Blizzard