A significant change to it’s flagship shooter’s esports seems imminent as Activision prepares to open team sales for the Call of Duty Professional league.
The news comes from a quote in Activision Blizzard’s annual financial report. While the report was released back in April, hints regarding a Call of Duty team sale seem to have been overlooked until Dot Esports found and shared the news.
The report provides hints towards expanding the Overwatch League model, applying the strategy towards more titles. “Our expertise launching and growing the Overwatch League will allow us to launch additional professional esports initiatives.”
Team sales for the league will launch later this year, alongside expansion plans for the Overwatch League’s team lineup. It’s currently unknown whether this will be an entirely new league for Call of Duty, or a format-change to the existing World League.
The natural conclusion is that Activision Blizzard is hoping to expand its franchised League model outside of Overwatch, taking a greater hand in running competitive scenes for its catalogue.
Call of Duty isn’t the only title getting the OWL treatment. Despite lacking a team structure, Blizzard has begun taking more direct control of Starcraft esports with the Korea Starcraft League.
To give a picture of how lucrative this model has been for Activision Blizzard, the franchise fee for teams in the Overwatch League's first year was $20m - that's expected to rise to anywhere between $35m and $60m for its second season.