BUSINESS: Call of Duty League entry fees waived, major changes to league structure revealed

The Call of Duty League is making new changes to its overall league structure, Activision announced last Tuesday. Among... Paolo | 19. April 2024

The Call of Duty League is making new changes to its overall league structure, Activision announced last Tuesday.

Among the major ones announced by COD esports General Manager Daniel Tsay is the waiving of team entry fees.

“Outstanding entry fees will be eliminated, and any fees previously collected from teams will be returned in full. While we paused collection of these payments years ago, we are permanently removing this obligation while also injecting capital back into the League,” Tsay announced in a blog post.

Esports Insider reported that OverActive Media, the owners of Call of Duty League Franchise Toronto Ultra, revealed that its remaining entry fee amounted to US$25.5 million. OverActive Media is also set to receive a one-time payment of US$2 million following the said announcement.

Tsay added that these changes are based on the “evolving business model of esports” and its challenges. “We have taken these learnings and together with our CDL teams, made changes to create a stronger, more sustainable league. In the past, the League implemented various solutions to alleviate some of the challenges for Teams. These include providing financial relief during COVID-19 to fund player salaries and benefits, pausing franchise fee payments, providing funding for team-hosted events, guaranteeing revenue to teams and creating in-game Team bundles,” the blog post reads.

Tsay also added that teams will get more revenue from the sale of their in-game merchandise. Saying, “teams will earn increased revenue tied to the sale of their in-game merchandise (e.g., Team bundles) and now, the Champs bundle as well. We know how meaningful in-game bundles can be for Teams and we want to make sure they have increased ability to drive their own financial success.” How much the teams will earn, as well as the specifics of these revenue streams, are still undisclosed.

Tsay’s blog also says a two-year minimum guarantee of revenue generated from CDL will be given to all teams, while hosting live, in-person events such as Majors, Opens, and Champs will have teams get increased event subsidies, owing to the growing number of in-person or LAN events in the post-pandemic era.

“Teams will receive a two-year minimum guarantee of revenue so they can continue investing into the Call of Duty League with more peace of mind,” Tsay says. He adds, “Esports is where many of Call of Duty’s community engage with the franchise and where players have the opportunity to turn their Call of Duty passion into professional careers, and we want to ensure we continue to build a thriving future for this audience. Our teams have a huge role in shaping that future and by investing more into them with these changes, we hope to continue propelling the CDL forward.”