The first Call of Duty League season that will have city-based teams will start on January 24, 2020, in Minneapolis, at the local Armory.
The event will be hosted by Minnesota Røkkr, the team operated by WISE Ventures Esports under ownership of the Wilf family and investor Gary Vaynerchuk. All 12 professional Call of Duty League teams will compete across three days during the opening weekend of the regular season, which follows a home-and-away format with five-on-five match play.
“We are thrilled to debut the Call of Duty League in Minnesota in partnership with the Wilf Family and everyone at WISE Ventures,” said Johanna Faries, commissioner of the Call of Duty League. “Bringing together all 12 pro teams and the amateur community together for this special moment will usher in a new era for Call of Duty esports.”
The Call of Duty League will have 12 professional teams in 11 markets across North America and Europe: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Florida, London, Los Angeles (2 teams), Minnesota, New York, Paris, Seattle and Toronto. Throughout the season, each team will host “Home Series” weekends in their market, with multiple pro teams competing at each event.
The league will also host its own event weekends, including a midseason weekend and championship weekend. Throughout the season, teams are ranked by wins and losses to determine which eight teams advance to the playoffs. In the championship weekend, the final six playoff teams will face off in double-elimination competition until the final two teams go head to head in a championship match.
“We are thrilled with the continued growth of the Call of Duty esports footprint as an international, city-based league with 12 teams in four countries,” said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. “Building on our city-based model’s success in esports first established by the Overwatch League, we are excited to unite the historic passion for the Call of Duty franchise with city-based fandom to create a league to rival the very best leagues in traditional sports in recognizing, celebrating and rewarding our players.”
Call of Duty League launch weekend will also feature the season’s first Call of Duty Challengers Open, where amateur players from around the world can compete as teams in an open bracket tournament format. Beginning in November, competitors will begin battling via online ladders and tournaments for their share of an overall prize pool of more than $1 million during the 2020 season. Challengers team passes for Launch Weekend will go on sale in December.