Unpacking the reported Call of Duty Franchise League investor deck leak

On August 18, 2019, a report by Richard Lewis stated that Dexerto had obtained part of a deck that has been distributed to current and potential investors of Activision-Blizzard's Call of Duty Franchise League. Let's take a look at what this report may have potentially revealed about the future of CoD esports. 

▲ Image Source: Activision

League Parameters

According to the report, teams that take part in the league will agree to have an appointed general manager as well as 7-10 players on the books. The league is proposed to run from January to July, and the league has plans to eventually expand to 28 city-based teams.

Minimum salary for contracted players is $50,000. Although there is no stipulated salary limit for players, the league will take a page out of the Overwatch League's book by operating a competitive balance tax. If a team goes beyond a certain threshold of spending, the amount the team goes over by is then divided up by the rest of the teams within the threshold and distributed to them. The maximum player payroll before competitive balance tax looks set to be $1.575 million in year 1.

Salaries are to be paid by the team directly to the player. Prize money distribution will be at the behest of teams in the league, but according to the report, Activision Blizzard look set to state that a minimum of 50% of prize money must go to the team’s players. However, this can be divided at the team’s discretion.



The Numbers

The report also revealed information regarding the financial value of the franchise slots, as well as the projected revenue for the league as a whole. A slot is expected to be worth over $45 million in ten years, suggesting this model is something Activision Blizzard continues to support and develop. Media rights are expected to be worth approximately $20 million in year 1, although it isn’t clear how the value will be earned.

Also included in the deck were some references to Overwatch League and how successful a project it had been financially. The included information said the league was projected to make $25 million in revenue in season 1 but actually generated $82 million. Over half of that figure was from Twitch paying $45 million per year in a two year deal for exclusive online broadcasting rights.

Activision Responds

Dexerto reached out to Activision , who responded with the following comment:

"As a matter of policy, we don’t typically comment on rumors and speculation. What we will say however is that there are factual inaccuracies in this reporting. Further information on the future of Call of Duty esports is forthcoming and we look forward to sharing it with the community soon. In the meantime, we’re watching and celebrating the 2019 Call of Duty World League Championship taking place this weekend.”

We will continue to update this story as new information becomes available. 

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