Activision Blizzard’s esports leagues to be investigated again by DOJ
Staff, 2022-11-04 13:56:06,
A recent report from journalist Jacob Wolf shows that the US Department of Justice is resuming its antitrust probe of Activision Blizzard’s esports league for its shooters Overwatch and Call of Duty.
The probe followed an inquiry in the summer of 2021 concerning a “competitive balance tax” made for the two leagues, which taxed esports teams whose player wages exceeded $1.6 million (as of 2020). For every dollar spent past that amount, the team affected would pay double that amount to the league, which would then distribute it to teams that didn’t exceed that wage limit.
In October 2021, the tax rule was put on hold after Activision Blizzard was reported to have completely ended it, and a settlement between the two parties was proposed.
However, sources speaking to Wolf have said recent discussions between the DOJ and Activision Blizzard fell apart as the publisher failed to agree to particular requests. Among those were a change to the salary cap, which would’ve lasted beyond Microsoft’s incoming acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
With the investigation renewed, the DOJ’s Civil Conduct Task Force is determining if that cap has had a negative effect on player compensation. Among those being interviewed are players and employees (current and former) from both Call of Duty and Overwatch’s esports leagues, along with attorneys and former broadcast talent.
Similar luxury taxes exist in other sports leagues such as the NBA through agreements between…
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