Following the early success of the Overwatch League, Activision is planning to launch a similar, city-based professional league for Call of Duty as well, and today the publisher announced the league’s first teams. The company says that it has already sold franchises to owners in Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris, and Toronto.
While Activision didn’t specifically call out the team owners, it appears they will be the same ownership groups behind each city’s respective Overwatch League team. “In Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris, and Toronto, we are partnering with existing Overwatch League team owners who have first-hand experience of our e-sports strategy and capabilities and recognize the scale of the opportunity for a global Call of Duty league,” Activision said in an earnings statement today.
It’s not clear yet when the new league is expected to launch. Currently, Activision operates the Call of Duty World League, which is about to kick off a tournament in London. In March, ESPN reported that franchise slots for the new league were going for $25 million each.
“We are very excited to be a seminal franchise in the new city-based Call of Duty league. We can’t wait to launch this new team, introduce our players to our great city and to our incredibly passionate Toronto fan community in the months ahead,” said Chris Overholt, president of OverActive Media, the ownership group behind OWL’s Toronto Defiant as well as prominent e-sports organization Splyce.
As for the Overwatch League, Activision says that “viewership hours for the second season to date are over 30 percent higher than in the first season.” Season two of OWL kicked off on February 14th, and last weekend the league had its first taste of home and away games when the Dallas Fuel hosted a series of matches. Currently, all OWL matches are played out of the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles, but starting next year, they’ll begin playing out of home arenas in their respective cities. The new Call of Duty league is expected to follow a similar trajectory.