One of the biggest and most prominent eSports organizations–100 Thieves–will not have a team competing in the Call of Duty World League scheduled to begin in 2020.
In a video statement, 100 Thieves founder Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag said the decision basically came down to money. Activision charges a reported $25 million per team, and this fee was just too high for 100 Thieves, which is still operating as a start-up company with only around 30 people on staff (in addition to its paid competitors).
It is with a very heavy heart we announce that 100 Thieves will not be participating in competitive Call of Duty in 2020. pic.twitter.com/cdJD9DdUvQ
— 100 Thieves (@100Thieves) August 29, 2019
“Activision has decided to franchise, and obviously there are a lot of costs that come with that,” Nadeshot said. “The CDL is incredibly expensive. It’s so expensive.”
There are upfront costs related to joining the league, as well as operational costs that 100 Thieves would have to bear for “years,” Nadeshot said.
“We are just not equipped and not prepared to make that jump and to make that decision to be all-in,” he said.
Joining the Call of Duty League and putting up the money and resources is “a risk we can’t take right now,” Nadeshot said.
“We’re a start-up. We’re still a new company,” he said. “To make a financial commitment as large as this isn’t possible for us right now.”
Not only that, but because the Call of Duty World League is city-based–like the Overwatch League–100 Thieves would need to plant itself in one particular place, and it isn’t ready to do that. Nadeshot said 100 Thieves is a global brand that doesn’t want to be tied to one particular location.
Nadeshot and the other leaders of 100 Thieves debated this decision for “so long,” he said, but ultimately they decided to pass.
“It’s just a shi**y situation, man; there’s no other way to put it,” he said.
100 Thieves not competing at Call of Duty World League is a big loss for the competitive Call of Duty scene. The 100 Thieves team won twice in the Call of Duty majors competitive circuit in 2019 and came in second during August’s Call of Duty World Championship.
As ESPN reminds us, eight of the nine current members of the Call of Duty World League are financially backed by the same extremely rich groups that own Overwatch League teams.
“For those buyers, the $25 million expenditure is a way of doubling down on Activision Blizzard and trust in that company’s CEO, Bobby Kotick,” ESPN said. “If you’re Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke, Minnesota Vikings chairman Zygi Wilf or the New York Mets’ Wilpon family, $25 million is a drop in the bucket. But if you’re 100 Thieves, that’s a huge investment–one that could make or break your startup in the future–and it’s arguable if the reward outweighs the risk.”
The next Call of Duty game is the Modern Warfare reboot which launches in October for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.