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Activision Blizzard announces Johanna Faries as the new Head of Call of Duty Esports

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Activision Blizzard announced today in a press release that Johanna Faries, former NFL executive, has been named the new Head of Call of Duty Esports.

The Call of Duty esports program has been named the Call of Duty World League since 2015; Activision has been operating the league with MLG, both of which are owned subsidiaries of Activision Blizzard.

Activision Blizzard, Inc. announced the addition of veteran National Football League executive Johanna Faries to the company’s Esports Leagues leadership team, where she will serve as Head of Product for the Call of Duty® World League. Faries brings over a decade of experience from the NFL with an emphasis on business and fan development. In her new role, Faries will oversee strategic leadership, business operations and product development for the Call of Duty World League.

The addition of Johanna to our leadership team demonstrates our commitment to maintaining a world class organization with the objective of further expanding our shared vision in esports,” said Pete Vlastelica, President and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. ”Johanna has a proven track record throughout her tenure with the NFL of leading key business initiatives and driving fan engagement. She is a great addition to our organization and I look forward to working with her in her new role.”

“We’re excited for Johanna to join the Call of Duty World League team. She brings a ton of experience at the highest-level connecting players and fans together through their love of competition,” said Rob Kostich, EVP and GM, Call of Duty. ”She’s a perfect fit for the CWL. We have great momentum behind the league and are about to start our most exciting season yet. We’re committed to delivering the best experience to our fans, our players and the entire community, and look forward to Johanna helping us deliver on that promise.”

“To join a world class organization like Activision Blizzard in this role is as exciting as it is an honor,” said Faries. “With esports exploding in popularity, there is no doubt that Call of Duty is well positioned to be a major force in shaping the future of professional competition as we know it.”

The 2018-19 CWL Season for Black Ops 4 begins December 7-9 with CWL Las Vegas. Activision announced that the 2018-2019 Season will feature a $6 million prize pool, with new Pro League Formats, and more. More info on the season is available here.

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Call of Duty League

Activision Blizzard allowing CDL teams to defer league payments

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Activision Blizzard is providing financial relief for Call of Duty League team ownership groups in 2020 due to the on-going pandemic.

The Washington Post reported that the company is allowing Call of Duty League team owners to defer their 2020 franchise spot payments. EsportsObserver first reported in July about financial relief payments discussions.

The Call of Duty League started in 2020 with 12 teams. The 12 city spots reportedly sold for $25 million each, to be paid over several years as part of the agreement.

Teams are required to pay a portion of the franchise fees yearly until the full amount of is paid off.

As part of providing financial relief to the teams, Activision Blizzard is allowing teams to defer the portion that is due in 2020. Activision Blizzard is offering the same for Overwatch League team owners. 10 of the 12 Call of Duty League teams have the same ownership group as their respective Overwatch League teams.

“It’s a tough year for everybody,” said Philadelphia Fusion President Tucker Roberts to the Washington Post. “They’ve worked with us to make sure there’s support.”

The league expected to generate high revenues in 2020 with live events in all 12 cities. The League cancelled all live events in March. In April, the league transitioned to an online format.

Call of Duty League hosted four live events in 2020, with events in Minnesota, London, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, prior to the pandemic ceasing all future events.

This relief is a sign that the league and teams are facing financial pressures due to cancelling live events. The league expected to generate revenue from ticket sales, in person merchandising, and more thanks to home stead events.

Call of Duty League has revealed that the 2021 season will switch to a 4v4 competition, after being 5v5 for the first year.

The League is also making a massive switch in platforms from PlayStation 4 to PC + Controller. This will open the field, especially in the Challengers league, to new competition from Xbox controller players as the years progress.

Activision Blizzard Esports did not provide a comment.

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Call of Duty League

Call of Duty League 2021 season platform will be PC with controller

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The Call of Duty League has announced a massive change for the 2021 season and the future of the league itself.

The league announced on September 14 that the 2021 season will be played with controllers on PC.

All Pro players who are part of the CDL will be required to compete on PC platform using a league sanctioned controller. A list of allowed controllers will be announced in the near future.

The League is announcing it will move pro team competition to PC + Controller beginning with the 2021 season. This means that all pro matches will be played on PC and all pro players must use a League-approved controller of their choice.

As part of this transition, Call of Duty League competition will maintain exclusive use of controllers for the upcoming season. This change provides players with expanded choice of controller, allowing them to select the League-approved controller style that works best for their game. More details and rules pertaining to peripherals will be released at a future date.

This marks the first time Call of Duty esports will not be played on a console. Activision’s first real sponsored esports event was the 2011 Call of Duty XP, which was played on Xbox 360. Call of Duty esports went on to play on the Xbox console for through 2015.

Call of Duty transitioned to PlayStation as the premiere partner of esports in 2015 with Black Ops 3, and all league matches have been on PS4 since then.

Call of Duty Challengers

Activision has also announced a big change for the Call of Duty Challengers division.

Call of Duty Challengers will be switching to crossplay, which means players on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC can all compete in online Challenger events in the 2021 season.

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For the first time in Call of Duty esports history, competitors will be able to compete online in Call of Duty Challengers on their platform of choice across console and PC. We will continue to test platform hardware and make restrictions if necessary.

Players are required to use controllers. Mouse and keyboard peripherals will not be allowed.

Any LAN Challengers event that takes place during the season will be played on PC. Competitors may plug in their League-approved controller of choice.

More information on the 2021 season schedule to come. Stay tuned.

SOURCE: Call of Duty League

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Call of Duty League

Call of Duty League won’t expand to new teams for 2021 season

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The Call of Duty League does not plan to expand beyond the 12 teams for the 2021 season, according to ESPN Esports.

ESPN reports that sources tell them the Call of Duty League made the decision to hold expansion for now because they want to work on showcasing the power of bringing the league to LAN. The 2020 season was switched to online due to the pandemic.

The Call of Duty League Commissioner has stated that there’s a lot of interest from new city owners to join the league, but they don’t plan to expand for the 2021 season.

In a press conference, Johanna Farris, Commissioner, said:

We continue to see great demand for CDL coming in from a lot of different places which is always exciting to see,” Call of Duty League commissioner Johanna Faries said Friday. “Breaking the viewership records that we’ve had with our playoffs run shows what the possibilities are for us in this nascent stage. However, our heads are currently down and focused on our 12 teams that have been with us since the beginning. We were oversubscribed with demand when we settled on our 12, and will do right by that demand at the appropriate time.

ESPN reports that the league intends to expand to new cities and markets for the 2022 season with new team sales set to begin in summer 2021.

It’s not clear at this time which cities are interested in joining the league. So far, 11 cities are part of the league with 4 countries represented.

Activision Blizzard did not respond to request for a comment.

SOURCE: ESPN

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