100 Thieves pull out of Call of Duty franchising

100 Thieves lift the trophy in front of a packed crowd at London's Copperbox Arena. Activision Publishing

100 Thieves will not take part in the 2020 Call of Duty League season as the league is moving to a city-franchise model, owner Matthew "Nadeshot" Haag announced Thursday.

The former Call of Duty captain for OpTic Gaming posted a video to Twitter on Thursday to announce his organization's decision.

"100 Thieves will not be a part of competitive Call of Duty next year. We will not be part of the CDL. We will not have a team competing for our brand. And I wouldn't say this is the end," he said, "but we will not be fielding a roster."

Nadeshot said 100 Thieves is about more than just Call of Duty and has numerous offshoots. He said the organization couldn't commit the vast resources it would take to buy a franchise and to build it because it could deprive other parts of the brand.

"It's just a risk we can't take right now," he said. "We're still a new company. To make a financial commitment as large as this just isn't possible for us right now."

ESPN reported in March that Activision Blizzard set the price for a franchise at $25 million.

Nadeshot also said 100 Thieves wasn't ready to find a home base. The league will launch with a home-and-away model in 2020, with teams hosting their opponents in home venues.

"We're not prepared to find a city, either. We're not prepared to put our flag down in one place and say, 'This is our home," Nadeshot said, adding that the company ran through various scenarios in which they could attempt to place a franchise in one city, but could find none in which the risk imposed on the company would be worth taking.

The timing of the announcement adds to the impact of the news, as 100 Thieves caught fire in competitive Call of Duty over the summer. The team took first place at Call of Duty World League stops in London and Anaheim, California, last May and June, respectively. In July, the outfit tied for third at the CWL Pro League playoffs. And earlier this month, 100 Thieves took second in the CWL Championship in Los Angeles.

The departure from Call of Duty has been a blow to everyone in the company, Nadeshot said.

"I'm sad, I'm upset," Nadeshot said in closing. "This is going to sting for a very long time."

A start date for the 2020 season has yet to be announced, but so far nine franchised teams have been announced. They will be located in Atlanta, Dallas, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New York, Paris and Toronto, with Los Angeles serving as home base to two teams.

-- Field Level Media