Activision Blizzard allowed esports teams to defer payments for two years, and the debts to the company have piled up to a huge sum.
Franchises in the Overwatch and Call of Duty leagues collectively owe the gaming giant between $390 million and $420 million, according to The Jacob Wolf Report.
- Call of Duty League teams owe an average of $22.5 million.
- The cost of admission into the league is reportedly $25 million, but teams only made initial $2.5 million payments in 2020, with the remainder deferred.
- The 20 Overwatch League franchises owe around $6 million to $7.5 million each. The franchise price for the league is around $16 million, with teams having already chipped in $7.5 million to $10 million.
Meanwhile, Activision Blizzard’s board of directors is taking heat from shareholder SOC Investment Group. SOC called for six board members, including CEO Bobby Kotick, to be removed in a letter on May 27.
SOC charged that the board members allowed “unsafe workplaces exhibiting frequent and repeated sexual harassment, sexual assault, and gender discrimination” and did not address those issues following a lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
“While shareholders await the assessment of the [$68 billion] merger with Microsoft by antitrust regulators, it is incumbent upon them to hold these current directors accountable for their multiple failures to act and the resulting reputational harm and declining share price,” SOC wrote.
Activision Blizzard disputed SOC’s claims, saying that the investor made “blatant misrepresentations,” and citing new policies including a zero-tolerance harassment policy.