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Volume 26 No. 47
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Wilf Family Launching Team In New Call Of Duty League

The Wilf family that owns the Vikings and their WISE Ventures investment fund will "field a team in Activision Blizzard's upcoming Call of Duty e-sports league," which will be "based in the Viking Lakes development in Eagan," according to Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Players will "live in Minnesota, practicing in the STEM building on the Vikings Lakes campus near the Vikings' outdoor practice fields." Vikings Dir of Partnership Strategy Brett Diamond, who will be the COO for the new COD franchise, said that the team will have "administrative offices, practice space and a players' lounge in the building." He added that the team also is "looking at the possibility of building an e-sports arena on the campus." Diamond: "The Wilfs are looking at it as, 'What does this look like in 10 years from now, 20 years from now?' That's really what drives any investment like this, and you've seen that approach over the last (14) years of their ownership (of the Vikings) here" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/2). In Minnesota, Nick Halter noted Vikings Exec VP/Strategic Planning & Business Initiative Jonathan Wilf will be the family's lead on the esports franchise as President of the team. The esports business is operated by WISE Ventures, though the franchise "doesn't have a name yet." In addition to the Wilf family, VaynerMedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk is an "investor in the Minnesota team" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 7/1).

BUILDING A LEAGUE: Immortals has also landed a franchise for L.A. in the new COD league set to launch next year. Activision has already announced five other cities that have landed franchises: Atlanta, Dallas, N.Y., Paris and Toronto. Activision has been asking for a $25M expansion fee into the COD league. The company has not yet revealed the exact number of teams that will be awarded franchises in the inaugural year, but a source said to expect a minimum of 12, the number the OWL started with for its debut campaign in ’18. Activision will transition to the new league next year from its current model, which is called the Call of Duty World Pro League and takes place at MLG Arena in Columbus with 16 teams (Adam Stern, THE DAILY).

For more coverage of the business of esports, visit our partners, esportsobserver.com.