UPDATE: New information from ESPN esports’ sources states that Activision Blizzard will give Overwatch League teams first bid in team sales for Call of Duty World League. Activision Blizzard is still evaluating what to do with the fact that 10 out of the current 12 Overwatch League teams that do not Call of Duty teams. Only OpTic Gaming and Team EnVyUs, both of which are in the Overwatch League with their respective teams, have Call of Duty teams.
In the company’s franchise contracts with existing Overwatch League owners, those owners are granted a first right of negotiation for slots in the Call of Duty World League, league sources told ESPN. Activision Blizzard is contractually obligated to approach those owners first when it begins exploring franchise opportunities for the Call of Duty World League, according to sources.
No launch date for the franchised league has been announced. Activision Blizzard stated in their May 2018 conference call that the company plans to apply their learnings from the Overwatch League, which has been incredibly successful for the company, to Call of Duty esports at some point in the near future but additional details were not provided by the company at the time.
Activision Blizzard has not issued a statement about this information as of now.
In Activision Blizzard’s 2017 annual report, the company has stated that they plan to launch team sales for a professional Call of Duty esports league later this year, to match their format and set up they have done for the Overwatch League.
Activision hinted at this possibility during their financial call in May, when they said they plan to apply their expertise and learnings from the Overwatch League to Call of Duty esports.
From Activision Blizzard’s 2017 annual report, which is available on their website:
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. Over time we believe our esports initiatives could rival traditional sports for audience interest, advertisers, sponsors, ticket sales and merchandise sales (both virtual and physical).
The Overwatch League has proven to be a big success for the company, as they plan to add more teams to the league heading into Season 2. For the Overwatch league, Activision Blizzard has been selling team spots for $20 million in Season 1. A report from ESPN says Season 2 spots may cost up to $35 million. In addition, Overwatch League also has secured sponsorships from Toyota, T-Mobile, HP, and OMEN.