Call of Duty League's return receives underwhelming reception from viewers

by Adam Fitch  ·  Updated 
Call of Duty League's return receives underwhelming reception from viewers

Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty League is back in action on a brand new title, CoD: Vanguard, but the viewership saw a huge drop from the previous year's events. Here's the low-down on the Call of Duty League 2022 Kickoff Classic.

The event: The CDL returned for its third season with its Kickoff Classic event, with Toronto Ultra besting the competition from January 21st-23rd, 2022.

  • It took place at the Esports Stadium Arlington, which recently found new management in OpTic Gaming owner Envy Gaming.
  • All 12 franchises took part in the tournament, including rebranded team OpTic Texas and new entrant Boston Breach, owned by Oxygen Esports.
  • OverActive Media-owned Toronto Ultra ultimately took home the trophy having beaten Florida Mutineers, Los Angeles Thieves, and Seattle Surge.

The viewership: The first event on a brand new game with fresh teams, the Kickoff Classic has to be seen as a disappointment for the league. (All statistics from Esports Charts.)

  • It reached a peak of 79,753 viewers, down from the 2021 Kickoff Classic peak of 107,186 — a drop of 25%.
  • Average viewership levelled out at 47,757, compared to the previous year's average of 59,451 — almost a 20% drop.
  • One positive is that the OpTic brand didn't carry viewership, though perhaps that means hype around the legendary org is dying.

The future: There have been plenty of changes in the CDL camp, with more on the way over the next couple of years, so how does the league look moving forward? There are a variety of questions surrounding the league.

  • How will Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard affect the Call of Duty League once it goes through?
  • Will Warzone be brought in to revitalize the league should it continue to produce underwhelming performances or is this simply a one-off?
  • Does the consolidation of two iconic Call of Duty brands in Envy (with the Dallas Empire franchise) and OpTic Gaming (with the OpTic Chicago franchise) as OpTic Texas actually make the league less appealing to viewers?
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