The Call of Duty League is now 12 teams strong, and that should be enough to kick off a season. Activision Blizzard announced Friday that three new companies bought into the league. They companies who made the purchase are ReKTGlobal, NRG Esports, and a partnership of Aquilini Group and Enthusiast Gaming. They will establish teams in London, Chicago, and Seattle, respectively.
The announcement means that the Call of Duty League now has 12 teams, which could be enough to fill season. As The Esports Observer reports, the other teams are based in Atlanta, Dallas, Florida, Los Angeles (with two teams), Minnesota, New York, Paris, and Toronto. There may be a bid for a Houston team in the works, but as of now these are the only 12.
From what we know of the Call of Duty League, it will operate based on the Overwatch League's format. The Overwatch League began with 12 teams and expanded to 20 for the currently-running second season. It seems likely that the Call of Duty League will run the same. That's why many speculate that these new franchise announcements for London, Chicago, and Seattle will be the last for a while.
Also like the Overwatch League is the team setup. It is mandatory for each Call of Duty League to sign more team members than are actually fielded in a match. The players must also be guaranteed health and retirement benefits, as well as a $50K salary. Finally, teams must award players at least 50% of all prize winnings. All of these things are great to see, as they were put in place to address many of the issues harming esports players as they play for too long.
It's an exciting time for esports. The industry is growing rapidly, thanks largely to this new model that takes after traditional sports. It gets fans invested at the local level by giving them teams based in their home cities. The fact that many pro players live stream also establishes them as celebrity figures, turning them into storied figures. They're not quite on par with Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky, but given time, esports may be able to produce such widespread legends.
Source: Esports Observer