An announcement from the Call of Duty League telling fans where they can watch the new season (which started on Dec. 2) reveals that Activision Blizzard did not renew its deal with YouTube to broadcast its various esports properties or find a new partner. The company’s three year deal with YouTube recently expired, and an announcement telling fans they could watch CDL competitions on Twitch and its official website, indicates that it has moved on from YouTube.–that three year deal, which included broadcast rights to competitions for CDL, Overwatch League, and Hearthstone–was valued at approximately $160M USD.
Multiple sources familiar with the situation tell Sports Business Journal’s Kevin Hitt that there are serious concerns from stakeholders and franchisees in the Activision Blizzard-owned leagues about a loss in revenue sharing with no new deal in place, and Twitch has not been named as an “official broadcast partners,” but rather just a default place to watch competitions. Some sources claim that the proposed $69B acquisition by Microsoft might be playing a role in securing broast rights deals as Microsoft is a strong proponent of using third-parties for these esports operations, which would include giving those involved the media rights instead.
The loss in revenue from a new media rights deal follows reporting this summer that franchisees allegedly owed both OWL and CDL an estimated $390M – $420M in unpaid franchise fees.
It’s also unclear who remains a sponsor for the league as its jumps into the 2023 season, though branding for gaming peripherals makers SCUF Gaming and SteelSeries was prominent during the most recent broadcast and SCUF Gaming’s Play of the Game branded segment featuring Boston Breach versus Atlanta FaZe for the Week 1, Day 1 Major I qualifiers…