The Washington Justice’s Mark Ein could become the next owner to operate both an Overwatch League and Call of Duty League franchise, as there is mutual interest around potentially expanding CDL to DC, people familiar with the matter tell Sports Business Journal.
CDL is entering its second season with 12 teams and chose not to expand this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, Activision Blizzard could expand the property as soon as 2022, and SBJ previously reported that DC was among a handful of cities being speculated by industry insiders as a potential candidate.
Sources now say that the league is indeed interested in expanding to the nation’s capital and that Ein is in the running to land the CDL slot, should Activision move ahead with expanding to DC.
Talks are still ongoing and a deal is not assured. CDL Commissioner Johanna Faries in January wouldn’t confirm or deny the league’s interest in DC, along with the other cities being speculated in Las Vegas and Charlotte, and Ein wouldn’t comment on the record regarding a possible CDL franchise.
Activision originally asked $25M USD for franchises when Call of Duty esports first re-organized into the now franchised, geo-located property that it is now. The inaugural CDL season was last year. It’s not yet clear how much Activision is asking for expansion franchises.
The Justice earlier this week announced a three-year extension with major sponsor Pentagon Federal Credit Union, which is a fairly lengthy deal by OWL/CDL sponsorship standards and shows the sort of stability the league is looking for in owners.
The Justice was aggressive in hosting in-person games before the pandemic started last year, and Ein has said that he wants to get back to hosting them as soon as safe and allowable by the league. That fits in with the original model the league had of hosting home/away events around the country (and in some cases, world) like traditional sports do.
The team had originally planned to host five events last year before the pandemic started, three at The Anthem venue and two at the Entertainment and Sports Arena.
Ein is a DC-based entrepreneur and philanthropist who also has connections and properties in the tennis world, including the World TeamTennis team Washington Kastles.
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