Following in the success of their Overwatch esports league teams, Activision Blizzard has announced they will be forming a new esports league for Call of Duty.
Franchises have already been established in five different cities including Atlanta, Dallas, New York City, Paris, and Toronto. All of these franchises will be operated by current Overwatch League team owners.
Activision Blizzard CEO, Bobby Kotick, has said "the upcoming launch of our new Call of Duty esports league reaffirms our leadership role in the development of professional esports." The company hopes to continue the major successes it has had in the past with broadcast partners, sponsors, and licensees.
While esports gaming has become extremely popular in other genres, such as MOBA games, Call of Duty is consistently one of the most popular and best selling FPS video game franchises worldwide. It shouldn't come as a surprise that this league will introduce thousands of new players to esports gaming and help propel this portion of the industry forward.
The full press release is available by clicking read more.
As just confirmed on Activision Blizzard’s earnings call, following the blueprint established and validated with the Overwatch League, the company has started the team sales process for a professional, city-based Call of Duty esports league and has already sold 5 franchises for Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris and Toronto. In each case, they are partnering with existing Overwatch League team owners who have first-hand experience of the company’s esports vision and capabilities and recognize the scale of the opportunity for a global, city-based Call of Duty league.
The first five teams are:
- Atlanta, GA - Atlanta Esports Ventures, a joint venture owned by Cox Enterprises and Province, Inc. dedicated to bringing esports entertainment to the city of Atlanta
- Dallas, TX - Envy Gaming Inc., a staple in esports since 2007 with teams competing this year in the Call of Duty World League (Envy) and Overwatch League (Dallas Fuel)
- New York, NY - Sterling.VC, an early stage sports and media company backed by Sterling Equities – a family-run group of companies owned by the Wilpon and Katz families with several business operations including the New York Mets
- Paris, France – c0ntact Gaming, LLC., is the parent company of both the Overwatch League team, Paris Eternal, and the Paris Call of Duty esports team
- Toronto, Canada - OverActive Media, an integrated company delivering esports and video game entertainment to the Canadian market
Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard – “The upcoming launch of our new Call of Duty esports league reaffirms our leadership role in the development of professional esports. We have already sold Call of Duty teams in Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris and Toronto to existing Overwatch League team owners, and we will announce additional owners and markets later this year. Our owners value our professional, global city-based model, the success we have had with broadcast partners, sponsors and licensees, and the passion with which our players have responded to our events.”
Pete Vlastelica, President and CEO at Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues: “Call of Duty is a game that embodies team work and dedication and Call of Duty esports is a celebration of those pillars. We’re building this league for fans across esports, traditional sports and gaming alike - and we’re excited to partner with individuals and organizations who are just as passionate about our vision for the future of Call of Duty esports. Our early momentum for franchise sales has been strong as we welcome our first five partners.”
FROM THE OWNERS
Paul Hamilton, president and CEO of Atlanta Esports Ventures (ATLANTA) – “The partnership between Province, Inc. and Cox Enterprises has been remarkable. We have the opportunity to – once again – play a pivotal role in Atlanta’s diverse esports community by bringing the future of Call of Duty esports to the city. Activision Blizzard has a proven track record for mastering this city-based team model, making them the ideal partner for this endeavor.”
Mike Rufail, owner and CEO at Envy Gaming Inc. (DALLAS) – “Our organization’s roots are in Call of Duty. Envy was founded as a professional Call of Duty team in 2007 and my own journey as an esports professional began as a Call of Duty player, coach and broadcaster. We’ve built one of the most-winning Call of Duty teams in the world over the last decade and are excited to bring that heritage to the new league as the hometown Call of Duty franchise for Dallas.”
Scott Wilpon, Partner at Sterling.VC (NEW YORK) – “In 2017, we had the privilege of launching the first professional New York esports franchise with NYXL, the New York franchise in The Overwatch League. Since then, we’ve seen remarkable support from the local community, and we couldn’t be more excited to launch our second New York franchise and represent the best fans in the world in Call of Duty, a game with a longstanding history and major following in New York.”
Drew McCourt, founder and owner of c0ntact Gaming, LLC. (PARIS) – “We’re excited to bring the future of Call of Duty esports to iconic Paris for the inaugural season and represent our fans in France, Europe, and throughout the world.”
Chris Overholt, President and CEO at OverActive Media (TORONTO) – “OverActive Media is building a global esports organization that will redefine the future of sport and entertainment, and today is another significant step toward that goal. We are really proud to have secured another professional esports franchise in Toronto and we are looking forward to launching our new Call of Duty team and players in front of our fans and supporters."
ABOUT THE OWNERSHIP GROUPS
- About Atlanta Esports Ventures: Atlanta Esports Ventures (AEV) is a joint venture owned by Cox Enterprises and Province, Inc. dedicated to bringing the best of esports to the city of Atlanta. AEV houses the Atlanta-based Overwatch League franchise, the Atlanta Reign.
- About Cox Enterprises: Cox Enterprises is dedicated to building a better future through our leading communications, automotive services and media companies. Our major operating subsidiaries include Cox Communications, Cox Automotive and Cox Media Group. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Cox is a global company with over $20 billion in annual revenues and brands that include Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book and Cox Homelife. Founded in 1898 by Ohio Governor James M. Cox, the company is a family-owned business committed to its people, communities and the planet. To learn more about Cox, visit coxenterprises.com.
- About Province, Inc.: Province, Inc. is a national financial advisory firm focusing on growth opportunities, restructuring, and fiduciary-related services. The firm is regularly hired to provide solutions in many of the largest and most complex cases in the country.
- About Envy Gaming: Envy Gaming, Inc. is the owner and operator of global esports franchise Team Envy and Overwatch League franchise the Dallas Fuel. Founded as a professional Call of Duty team in 2007, owner Mike Rufail has grown the Dallas-based organization into one of the largest and most-winning esports groups in the world. Today, Envy Gaming competes, streams and produces content across multiple titles including Overwatch, Call of Duty, CS:GO, PUBG, Paladins, Rocket League, Street Fighter V, FIFA and Fortnite. Envy was named the 2016 Esports Team of the Year. For more information, visit Envy.gg.
- About Sterling.VC: Sterling.VC is an early stage sports, media, and real estate technology fund backed by Sterling Equities – a family-run group of companies owned by the Wilpon and Katz families with a number of operating businesses including the New York Mets and Sportsnet New York (SNY). Sterling.VC leads the ownership group for New York Excelsior (NYXL), a founding franchise of Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League and the first professional esports team to represent the city of New York.
- About c0ntact Gaming, LLC.: c0ntact, a global leader in esports, is the parent company of both the Paris Eternal Overwatch League and Paris Call of Duty esports teams.
- About OverActive Media: OverActive Media (“OAM”) is an integrated global company delivering esports and video game entertainment. OAM combines team ownership with audience engagement to better connect with our fans, franchise partners and corporate sponsors around the world. OAM owns the Toronto Defiant of the Overwatch League, a League of Legends European Championship series franchise and recently fully acquired Splyce Inc., which is headquartered in Rochester, NY and operates regional teams in various other esports, including: Call of Duty, Rocket League, Smite and Starcraft II. OAM is headquartered in Toronto, Canada.