Call Of Duty League “Hearing Interest” From New Markets

Las Vegas, D.C., and Charlotte are among the markets being speculated as possible expansion destinations for Call of Duty League, but commissioner Johanna Faries doesn’t rule out Europe getting into the mix either, reports Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern. While Faries would neither confirm nor deny those U.S. markets are in play, she tells SBJ that “it’s fair to assume we’re hearing interest not only from North American hotbeds but even across the pond in Europe and beyond.”

CDL is entering its second season with 12 teams, but decided against expanding for 2021 amid the pandemic. Faries did acknowledge to SBJ in August that Activision Blizzard Esports was in talks with potential investors about buying into the league. Previous slots went for $25M USD, but it was unclear if the price would be the same for new franchises. 

Faries struck an optimistic tone about the upcoming CDL season, which is highlighted on the franchise side by 100 Thieves joining in the L.A. market and NRG’s Chicago Huntsmen rebranding as Optic Chicago. On the gameplay side, the biggest changes will see 4v4 instead of 5v5 and teams now playing Black Ops Cold War on PCs. All events will remain online-only to start the season.

“The pandemic presented a lot of blessings and a lot of curses in the same way most leagues were in other esports and esports,“ she said. “It has strengthened us in certain ways, we’ve now had the ability to take a breather, assess what went well and didn’t go so well and is in need of improvement and apply some of that to the 2021 experience, so I think fans are going to see a lot more from us even in an online environment.”

Faries says she’s enjoying her new additional role as Activision Blizzard Esports VP & head of leagues, which has her working closely with new Activision Blizzard President of Sports & Entertainment Tony Petitti.

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