Oh Activision…you never cease to amaze me. This past Call of Duty World League season was the last season where organizations were in the league. Now, Activision is taking Call of Duty down the franchise path.
Yikes. I’m not a fan of this at all. Well…no I guess that’s not necessarily true. I am a fan of franchising, but not the way CoD is going. Call of Duty has always been an eSport that pitted fan favorite organizations against each other.
Optic Gaming vs FaZe Clan. 100 Thieves vs eUnited. Big name organizations facing off against each other. No longer will that be the case. Let me explain, by comparing two other eSports that take part in franchising.
First off: LCS
LCS has a franchising model, but it’s organizations that bought in. Cloud9, TSM, Team Liquid, 100 Thieves, etc. Notable organizations that have dedicated fanbases as well as followings. It works perfectly for League of Legends, as they’ve ALWAYS been organizations. Since the first season, it’s been eSport organizations funding teams to compete. It’s how I became a fan of eSports honestly. Watching Cloud9 have a historic split and dominate is what got me into eSports, and since then I’ve become a huge fan of Cloud9 teams, whether it be their occasional forays into CoD and Halo, the LCS team, all the way to Mango in Super Smash Bros Melee. It’s historic and memorable.
Second off: OWL
Now the Overwatch League has a franchising model that makes sense, because it’s been a franchising model from the start. From the start, OWL had city-based teams in mind. It works, because they are investing in that model. Each team has to have a certain amount of homestand events this upcoming season, which feeds into the city-based franchising. Granted, Overwatch has had organizations have teams BEFORE OWL started, but not to the massive popularity OWL has. Being that this is the first city-based franchising eSport, it worked. It worked WONDERS, having teams gain huge followings just from being in the city they belong to.
All this being said, I don’t dislike either form of franchising. They both work, but it matters on the circumstance. That’s what really matters. How does this relate to Call of Duty? Well, Activision being the OBVIOUSLY genius company they are, decided to remove organizations from the picture, and make the franchising model the same as OWL.
Why? That’s honestly what I want to know. They haven’t provided many details on the CDL (the acronym they’ve given the franchised league), but they are certainly shooting themselves in the foot and, in my opinion, hamstringing CoD eSports. Not only are they removing the organizations names, but if an org wants in, to own a city team the entrance fee is INSANE. It’s rumored to be at LEAST $20 million just to own a spot, not to mention all the funding needed to pay for players and all the expenses that go along with owning a franchise. That’s insane. Granted, it’s awesome for the players and people who buy in, as they don’t have to worry about not being paid or getting relegated. That’s great, but DAMN is that expensive. It’s so expensive that it’s led to big, historically notable teams not participating. For example, 100 Thieves, arguably the fan favorite of the past year of Call of Duty and they are already out. Their team was dominant all year, for nothing because they can’t justify the spot. Let’s take a gander at who was in the league last year, and who is still in it.
Optic Gaming – In the league, but the Immortals owned Optic…not the same Optic everyone loved
Luminosity – Denied a spot.
Gen.G – Denied a spot.
Evil Geniuses – Will not participate.
FaZe Clan – Undetermined.
Reciprocity – Will not participate.
UYU – Undetermined.
Midnight eSports – Undetermined.
Splyce – Undetermined.
eUnited – Undetermined.
100 Thieves – Will not participate.
Envy – Confirmed in the league.
Heretics – Undetermined.
Elevate – Undetermined.
Denial – LOL god only knows with Denial, who knows if they even finally paid their players…
Enigma6 – Undetermined.
YIKES. Luminosity, Gen.G, EG, Reciprocity and 100 Thieves all out? That’s a HUGE part of the fanbases. I hate to be blunt, but I don’t think many people will care about UYU, Midnight, Splyce, Heretics, Elevate, DeniaLOL and Enigma6. The only big names still in really are Optic and Envy.
I need to say this, because Optic being in doesn’t matter for much anymore. Their fanbase is quitting the team, and rightfully so. With Infinite Esports selling the Optic brand to Immortals, and Immortals kicking Hecz from the team, it’s not Hector’s Optic anymore, the Greenwall will NEVER be the same.
This franchise model that Activision is embarking on…I just don’t see it panning out. The super high entry fee is ridiculous, and honestly, Call of Duty can’t bring in the necessary viewership to qualify that. Don’t get me wrong, series like Optic Gaming vs 100 Thieves would easily bring in over 100k viewers, but that’s not a thing now. After the first season is over and the hype of franchising wears off, this is going to a be a sinking ship in my opinion…
R.I.P. Hector’s Optic, gone but never forgotten ❤