Call of Duty League Revamps Esports Model: Offering More Revenue Opportunities to Esports Teams


Activision Blizzard Introduces Sweeping Changes to Call of Duty League for a More Sustainable Esports Future

In a recent announcement, Activision Blizzard unveiled a series of significant changes to its Call of Duty League (CDL).

These changes aim to create a “stronger, more sustainable league” through a new financial model and revamp revenue revenue-sharing approach with esports teams.

Lawsuit Prompts Call for Change

This revamp came in the midst of a massive $680 million lawsuit filed by OpTic Gaming co-owner Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez and star player Seth “Scump” Abner against game publisher Activision Blizzard in February this year.

The lawsuit revealed some juicy details about Activision’s contract with Call of Duty League franchise owners and demanded a change in the league’s revenue model.

After the lawsuit, many esports organizations joined the call to increase the pressure on the publisher, and it appears that these changes are a direct result of their collective efforts.

What Are the Key Changes?

  • Elimination of Outstanding Entry Fees: The league will permanently remove the obligation for teams to pay entry fees, and any previously collected fees will be returned in full. This move is designed to inject more capital back into the team and provide them greater financial stability.
  • Increased Revenue Opportunities: Teams will now earn increased revenue from the sale of their in-game merchandise, including team bundles and the new Champs bundle. This change aims to empower teams to drive their own financial success and invest more in their operations.
  • Expanded Event Subsidies: Recognizing the importance of live, in-person events for teams and the CDL community, the league will increase the existing subsidies it provides to teams for organizing Majors, Opens, and Champs events.
  • Guaranteed Revenue for Teams: Teams will receive a two-year minimum guarantee of revenue, allowing them to invest in the league with more confidence and peace of mind.

Significance of This Move

The Call of Duty League’s popularity continues to soar, as evidenced by record-breaking viewership (294,000 peak viewers) and attendance during the past season.

However, ensuring the league’s longevity and prosperity requires a sustainable business model that aligns the incentives of all stakeholders – the league, teams, players, and fans.

According to Daniel Tsay, the general manager of the Call of Duty League, these changes are part of a broader effort to create a “stronger, more sustainable league” for the benefit of all stakeholders.

The elimination of entry fees and the injection of capital back into the teams/org can help alleviate some of the financial burdens that teams have faced in the past.

This, combined with the increased revenue opportunities and guaranteed minimum revenue, can provide teams with a more stable foundation to invest in their operations, talent development, and fan engagement.

Moreover, the expanded event subsidies recognize the critical role that live, in-person events play in the CDL community. These events not only offer an unparalleled fan experience but also serve as important revenue streams for teams. By increasing the support for these events, the league is demonstrating its commitment to fostering a thriving ecosystem for all its partners.

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