OWL and CDL Salary Caps to Be Removed Amid Federal Investigation & Call of Duty Community Discussion

by in Call of Duty | Oct, 15th 2021

Player compensation has been a hot topic of discussion in the Call of Duty community lately, especially after the comments made by Call of Duty streamer and pro Crimsix. Some feel as though the minimum compensation was too low for players, but what was also influencing player compensation was the soft salary cap instituted by Activision Blizzard, which encouraged teams to keep player salaries low in order to prevent teams from paying out to other teams in the league should they go over a certain amount. Now, it seems as though player salaries in both the CDL and OWL will no longer be capped as a result of a federal antitrust investigation that began earlier in July.

OWL and CDL Salaries: Will They See an Increase?

According to those speaking to the Sports Business Journal, Activision-Blizzard are preparing to get rid of the soft salary cap on player salaries in both the OWL and CDL. These caps come from the competitive balance tax Activision-Blizzard instituted that’s meant to ensure teams offering salaries that are competitive but not entirely unfeasible. However, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice on whether this practice violated antitrust law and prevented players from bargaining for better compensation has encouraged Activision-Blizzard to give players and organizations more room to negotiate salaries. 

Previously, if organizations spent more than a select sum on player salaries, revenue equaling the additional money spent would be distributed among non-offending teams in their respective leagues. Now, organizations may feel empowered to offer higher salaries and better conditions to players they believe will bring value to their teams and their brand.

However, many are disputing whether teams and organizations are motivated enough to pay players fairly. Crimsix has gained notoriety lately for criticizing the CDL and its team for low player salaries. “One third of the league paying the absolute minimums on salaries, that’s a huge ****ing problem,” Crimsix would say. While it’s possible that teams were paying these minimums to comply with Activision-Blizzard’s salary caps, it’s hard to explain the underlying motivation of saving money in what’s considered to be an already expensive venture for several teams and organizations. The salary cap may be the “reason” referenced by Los Angeles Guerillas general manager Alex Rubens’ conversation with Crimsix on Twitter.

With more discussion to come out of this situation, there’s no certainty whether the salary cap removal will make things better for Call of Duty and Overwatch pros competing in the CDL and OWL. With Alex Rubens slated to make an appearance on The Flank podcast, more details are sure to emerge regarding player salaries in the CDL.


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