With the success of Blizzard’s Overwatch League, Activision Blizzard apparently intends to offer Overwatch teams official slots in the CWL (Call of Duty World League). This is part of a franchising agreement between Overwatch League investors and Blizzard associates.
Dexerto has reported and respected esports journalist Richard Lewis has confirmed that this was used as a tactic when Blizzard first approached potential investors for the Overwatch League. During a livestream from the FACEIT CS:GO London Major, Lewis gave some details.
“[Activision] were offering—back when they were struggling to get VC groups to invest in the Overwatch Leagues—they were offering franchises in a Call of Duty league that didn’t even exist yet as extra leverage,” he said.
Lewis continued to speak about the business proposal.
“That was one of the big sticking points for a lot of these [investors] they were, for example: ‘We’re the LA team, but we’re not the LA team for Call of Duty? Just for Overwatch? We want to be the LA team for all Blizzard IP. If you start running a sick Hearthstone league, our player is the LA player,” he said.
Although Blizzard initially resisted, they apparently succumbed to such an agreement with investors they deemed worthy of affording it to. The sporting consortiums with first-rate teams and sufficient money have been given first preference over their respective city in the upcoming CWL draft. This means that New York Excelsior’s parent company will have first right to a New York CWL team, and so on.
Lewis continued to talk about the investors that Activision Blizzard is seeking.
“But yeah, they want to get entertainers in, and have these groups of entertainers that band together and create these weird little funds and little groups,” he said. “And they think it will be a great fit for Call of Duty, because there’s a lot of overlap with hip-hop culture.”
Although the Overwatch League attracted investors who held a sporting consortium, from the people who own Arsenal F.C. to the owners of the New England Patriots, Lewis seems to think that the CWL will seek to attract “entertainers” first and foremost. Therefore, it is uncertain as to whether the CWL will be filled with franchised slots from OWL investors, or with teams sponsored by a non-sport consortium.
Activision Blizzard is set to release information on the upcoming CWL on September 19. Until then, Lewis’ word is the only real indicator as to which way it will go.