Activision Blizzard announces first 5 teams for Call of Duty esports league

A gamer plays the video game 'Call of Duty: Black Ops' developed by Treyarch and published by Activision during the 'Paris Games Week' on October 25, 2018 in Paris, France.
Chesnot | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Activision Blizzard announced Thursday that it has sold its first five franchise teams in its Call of Duty esports league.

Those teams will be based in Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris and Toronto. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick also said the company will announce deals with more owners and markets later this year.

"The upcoming launch of our new Call of Duty esports league reaffirms our leadership role in the development of professional esports," he said in a statement.

The publisher has yet to announce a launch date for the league, which would be the second operated by Activision Blizzard.

Activision Blizzard did not disclose the deal figures, but ESPN reported in March that the publisher was looking to sell slots for about $25 million per team.

The five deals announced Thursday were made with existing team owners who participated Activision Blizzards' first esports venture, Overwatch League.

That first venture was a professional league set up by Activision Blizzard featuring its billion-dollar franchise Overwatch game and was the first global league with a city-based system and came with a business structure mirroring that of traditional sports leagues.

Shares of Activision Blizzard slipped 4% in after-hours trade despite better-than-expected earnings and revenue from the video game publisher.

The company reported earnings of 31 cents on $1.26 billion in revenue. Wall Street had projected earnings of 25 cents on $1.24 billion in revenue, according to Refinitiv consensus estimates.