In a move toward a city-based franchise model for a Call of Duty esports league next year, Activision Blizzard is reportedly selling franchise slots starting at a baseline price of $25 million per team, according to ESPN.
Activision Blizzard executives have reportedly been meeting with prospective buyers, seeking a non-binding indication of interest within the next two weeks. Overwatch League team owners will have the first right of negotiation in the purchase of teams.
In July 2017, journalist Richard Lewis reported the company’s interest in pursuing a franchised league similar to the Overwatch League. This interest was then later confirmed last month when Activision Blizzard revealed its plans for city-based franchising in an earnings call during which the company also laid off 800 employees from its global workforce.
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Founded in 2016, the Call of Duty World League features two eight-team divisions with squads hailing from North America and Europe. Teams competed in qualifiers ahead of the CWL each year if they wanted to earn a spot in Call of Duty’s premier league.
Although the company’s plans for a franchised league have been met with mostly negative feedback from the Call of Duty community, other esports leagues, including the professional North American and European League of Legends regions, have implemented a franchise system with success. The Overwatch League was created on a similar, city-based model and has since expanded with the addition of eight new teams for its second season.