Esports franchise 100 Thieves, one of the most popular and valuable gaming organizations in the world, is joining the Call of Duty League for its second season.
100 Thieves has purchased the Los Angeles franchise slot previously owned by Immortals. It will keep the league at 12 teams, with two franchises based in Los Angeles, the country’s second-biggest media market.
It’s unclear how much 100 Thieves agreed to pay Immortals, which acquired the slot when it bought OpTic Gaming’s parent company last year. During the league’s formation, franchises were reportedly priced at $25 million.
The new 100 Thieves team will compete as the Los Angeles Thieves, as Activision Blizzard doesn’t allow teams to compete in its franchised leagues under names they use elsewhere. It will be based out of the organization’s 15,000-square-foot headquarters in Los Angeles.
The Call of Duty League’s inaugural season happened in two stages. Pre-COVID, it operated for a few weeks with its tour-based model, bringing offline competition to a different home city every two weeks. After the initial shock of the pandemic, the league finished its season online-only. The disruption has made it hard for those inside the league—either at Activision Blizzard or the teams themselves—to fully evaluate its initial success.
100 Thieves was founded in 2017 by Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, a retired Call of Duty pro. The organization has grown its footprint through both competitive gaming and its streetwear apparel, and was recently valued at $160 million, according to Forbes’s 2019 rankings. Its investors include Drake, Scooter Braun, Sequoia Capital and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.
100 Thieves owns a squad in the top North American League of Legends competition as well. With the addition of the Call of Duty League slot, the organization now has representation in two of the world’s biggest franchised esports leagues. 100 Thieves also has teams that compete in Valorant, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Fortnite.