“Both ownership groups have a shared commitment to the growth of esports and building professional teams in their markets that home fans can be proud of and rally behind in the new city-based format,” said Johanna Faries, commissioner of Call of Duty esports.
Activision Blizzard has already confirmed franchise spots in New York, Toronto, Paris, Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Minnesota.
Activision Blizzard is looking to leverage its already strong foothold in the L.A. esports market. It will now have a total of four franchises in the city, including two in the Overwatch League.
These additions bring the total number of geo-located teams in the new Call of Duty league up to nine.
“Call of Duty is one of the most impactful titles in esports, and we’re excited to take it to the next level with the new league,” said Ben Spoont, chief executive and co-founder of Misfits Gaming.
The new Call of Duty league, which will go into effect in 2020, is similar to the Overwatch League in strategy. The OWL has already had success in the nearly two seasons it has played.
Initial spots for OWL franchises started at $20 million. A year later in 2018, expansion teams were announced with a cost between $30 million to $60 million. The Overwatch League closed on a $90 million media rights agreement with Amazon’s Twitch in 2018.
(Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Call of Duty will face its own set of challenges in the wake of gun violence, which some blame on violent video games, and fierce competition from established esports leagues, such as League of Legends, Overwatch, Fortnite, CS:GO and Dota2.