Call of Duty

Overwatch, Call of Duty League Teams Reportedly Owe Activision Blizzard Nearly $400 Million in Franchise Payments

Activision Blizzard is still owed roughly $400 million in franchise payments from teams participating in the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League.
Activision Blizzard is still owed roughly $400 million in franchise payments from teams participating in the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League. / Image courtesy of Call of Duty League

Activision Blizzard is still owed roughly $400 million in franchise payments from teams participating in the Overwatch League (OWL) and Call of Duty League (CDL), according to a report by The Jacob Wolf Report.

According to Jacob Wolf, teams in the OWL owe roughly $6 to $7.5 million each ($120-150 million total), while CDL teams owe an average of $22.5 million each. Additionally, there is an ongoing discussion to potentially put those payments off longer, perhaps to early 2024.

In September 2020, The Washington Post reported that annual payments for both leagues were deferred by Activision Blizzard to fall 2022 as a part of its COVID relief measures for teams.

After initially charging its 12 founding OWL franchises $20 million in 2017, and selling eight expansion slots for $27 to $35 million each in 2018, Activision Blizzard reportedly also leveled out and reduced the debt owed to it by the Overwatch teams in 2020, and has received close to $200 million in payments over the past five years.

On the CDL side of things, its franchise teams have reportedly only made their first payments to the league of $2.5 million in 2019 right before the COVID outbreak.

As speculated by Wolf, Activision Blizzard likely won’t make any decisions on its outstanding franchise payments until after Microsoft's proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of the company is confirmed to close.

Subject to customary closing conditions and the completion of regulatory review, the proposed transaction is expected to close in Microsoft’s fiscal year ending on June 30, 2023.